Throughout history, funerary practices have spanned a wide range, depending on one's culture, religious beliefs, location, and a variety of other factors. While you may know what a "traditional" funeral service entails, attitudes have shifted regarding end-of-life services in recent years. Many loved ones are opting to hold a celebration of life service to honor the person that has passed. A celebration of life is an event that can be hosted in addition to or in lieu of a more traditional calling hours service, funeral service, or burial.
Celebrations of life are not one size fits all. Some families opt to hold celebrations of life long after their loved one has passed away. Others plan these celebrations for a meaningful day following the death, such as the loved one's birthday or the first big holiday after their passing. Simply put, a celebration of life is a service that focuses on sharing memories, honoring the decedent's achievements, sharing photos and videos, and spending time with family and friends in a space that feels welcoming and safe. It is an opportunity to grieve while acknowledging all that the person contributed.
If you're considering hosting a celebration of life, it's best to start by asking yourself what your loved one enjoyed. Did they play bass in a band for decades? Did they make it to the local team's opening day each year? Did they feel most at home with the sand between their toes? Ideally, a celebration of life will pay homage to what the person loved doing the most. Perhaps you celebrate them by incorporating live music, reserving a few rows of seats at the ballpark for friends and family, or planning to spread their ashes along the coast. There's no right or wrong answer. Planning a celebration of life is a very personal and emotional endeavor, but one that can provide comfort and closure during a difficult time.
While funerals tend to take place within days of a person's passing, celebrations of life can be planned with more flexibility. Due to the unexpected nature of some deaths, loved ones cannot always make it to a traditional funeral or burial service. Celebrations of life offer the opportunity to plan a service with enough notice so that folks have time to make accommodations ahead of time. In addition, a typical funeral will be hosted at a funeral home with the person's remains present for viewing and saying final goodbyes. A celebration of life can be held in various venues and does not usually entail the person's casket or cremains being present.
If you're considering planning a celebration of life service for a loved one but need help figuring out where to start, Hamel-Lydon would be happy to assist. Our staff can guide you every step of the way and help you to coordinate a celebration of life that touches hearts while honoring the one you've lost. Contact us to get started.