Tuesday, December 18, 2007


PART # 2

One form of ritual may consist of some type of a gathering where the body is present with an open or closed casket. This is oftentimes referred to as the visitation, viewing, calling hours, or wake. It is a time for friends and family members to pay their respects and honor the life that once lived. It is also a time to share life experiences with others. This ceremony allows loved ones to offer their last farewells to the deceased. It is also a time of giving and accepting the support of others. This time of farewell also initiates the initial stages of realizing a death has occurred therefore starting the grieving process.

The funeral or memorial service is a ritual or ceremony composed of numerous elements that aid and comfort the bereaved. Typically, every service is centered on some form of a eulogy. A eulogy pays tribute to the life of the deceased and expresses gratitude for the contributions he or she made during life. A member of clergy traditionally delivers the eulogy. Friends, family members or business associates may also give the eulogy. It also benefits the bereaved by affirming the value and importance of their loved one's life.

An emphasis on communicating the unique qualities of someone's life is another element of today's services, which have taken on new dimensions by reflecting the personality of the deceased. There are many ways to transform a funeral ceremony or memorial ceremony into a “Life Tribute or Life Celebration”. This is oftentimes accomplished by utilizing some form of personalization and honoring the deceased and focusing on their accomplishments.

Memory tables can assist by displaying personal items of the deceased. Memory tables are tables that may display personal memorabilia, awards, educational accomplishments, photos etc. Memory Frames may also be utilized. Memory Frames are large photo frames that display a collage of photos of segments and of the deceased life. Photos of family and friends typically accompany these photo collages representing the many stages of their life.

As human beings, many of us are visually stimulated. A picture really is worth a thousand words. Photos tend to allow us to reflect on sometimes forgotten yet cherished memories and moments in time.

Today, many caskets have the ability to be personalized. The personalization may reflect our loved ones personal interests or hobbies. One way of personalizing the casket is by utilizing embroidered tributes. Embroidered tributes may be displayed in the cap or lid of the casket.

Embroidered tributes typically reflect on the deceased’s life by illustrating a biblical scripture, poem, photo, business or religious association symbol, civic group, hobbies etc. Typically these tributes symbolically represent the deceased’s life interests, hobbies, employment, or other special interests.

Today many families are choosing to personalize by utilizing special themed corners that is placed on the casket. These themed corners attach to the four corners of the casket during the ceremonies.

At the conclusion of the ceremonies, you have the option for the corners to be detached from the casket and your funeral director will present them to the family as a memorial keepsake. These corners are called “Life Symbols” typically they reflect a portion of the loved ones hobbies or special interests. There are many to choose from, such a deer or bass fish theme for the outdoorsman. Religious themed corners are also available such as cross, crucifix, angel, praying hands, as well as many others such as, sewing, cooking, gardening, golf, veterans, mom, dad, flowers, etc. all reflecting on the life that once lived.

For those families who choose cremation, urns may also be personalized utilizing engraving. The name, dates of birth and death, poems, photos, and emblems may also be engraved on the urn as a permanent memorial.

I have a strong personal conviction that every urn should be engraved! In a transient society in which we live, especially in instances when urns are not buried or entombed in a cremation niche, there should always be an identity of who that person is without disturbing the cremated remains. A person without a name or identity is oftentimes disregarded and with time forgotten. Cremation Jewelry such as necklaces, keepsakes (Miniature Urns), etc. can also be utilized as a permanent keepsake.

With cremation, you have numerous planning options available. You are not limited to only a direct or immediate cremation. It is suggested to choose some form of visitation, viewing, funeral or memorial service prior to the cremation.

Utilizing some form of services prior to the cremation, assists in initiating a healthy grieving process for those left behind. With cremation, there are numerous merchandise offerings, such as use of a cremation casket, urns, keepsakes, jewelry etc. These are all options available prior to the actual cremation. Cremation can then serve its primary purpose, which is final disposition.

Personalized funeral and memorial services have become more common. A personalized service may reflect on military honors, educational accomplishments, hobbies and other special recognition our loved one may have received in life. Oftentimes, funeral stationary packages such as guest register and memorial programs may reflect hobbies, associations or special interests.

While still prevalent, “cookie cutter” funerals and memorials are quickly fading. Death is very personal. When we experience a death of a loved one we have a strong inner desire to reflect back on the life of our friend or loved one. We all have an inner passion and duty to pay homage to their life’s contributions.

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