Funerals are designed to honor the departed, but they are important also for giving comfort to the living. People often have a large array of friends and family beyond their immediate relatives. These important individuals are not always involved in the funeral home services because the spouse, children or other close family do not stop to think how their contributions could give the funeral more of a personal touch and better diversity. There are an endless number of ways to incorporate everyone that wants to be involved. Here are a few examples of simple ways to invite others to help.
Request Some Stories
Obituaries list where people lived and worked and a few of the hobbies the individual liked. This is expected and important information, but does not tell the whole story of who the person was in life. The memory of a best friend from high school, the story from a recent coworker or cousin Edna telling a funny tale about when they went camping as children are much more personal. These stories and memories help to create a true picture of the person that is being remembered.
Remember Young Children
Many children are left out of the ceremony because they are considered too young to contribute, but they need to grieve too. Ask young children close to the person to draw a picture of them or something they know that individual would like and bring it to the funeral to share. Display the pictures prominently so the children know they are important. After the ceremony ask whether they would like the artwork to remain with the person of if they would like to keep it as a memento.
Share Some Photos
Many families now create a memory board of photos of the loved one to display at the ceremony. Consider having a blank board too for people to bring their own photos to add. People who have only known the individual through one phase of their life will love seeing them at different ages. Photos that include them with other people and engaged in favorite activities will encourage story sharing and make it easier for other attendees to learn new things about the person.
Include Distant Family
Family and friends that are ill or living too far away may not have the ability to attend the ceremony. To make it possible to include them consider the possibility of live streaming. This is not an option that will appeal to everyone, but it is gaining in popularity. Many funeral homes are offering this service and others allow people to add it to their ceremonies if they arrange the service on their own. An invitation is sent to grant access to people that may wish to watch online. In addition, the video of the funeral is saved and kept as a reminder of the day. It is also a valuable historical and genealogical asset to family members that may not have been born when it was filmed or were too young to remember.
The easiest way to ask for assistance or input from the attendees is by adding a request in the funeral announcement. Social media pages belonging to the honoree are also a great way to make suggestions or ask for people to consider contributing their memories to the ceremony. Everyone wants their loved ones to have a funeral that honors their memory. The level of respect and love shown will expand as more people are able to contribute. The added benefit is that it removes some of the responsibility from the shoulders of the planners who are also able to learn some new stories and enjoy the service without the burden of doing everything.