Individuals with strong religious conviction can take relaxation being recalled in death using a service that reflects their faith and its customs.
As more and more people leave our churches, temples and synagogues, though, these ceremonies no more talk to us. When it comes to our most important life events, this may make a gaping hole.
However there are choices.
A couple of weeks before, in a column on dying and death, I wrote about Unitarian Celebrations of Life. That column struck a chord with a range of subscribers, who desired to learn more about these services. I am pleased to provide. In reality, it is a subject I have contemplated writing a novel about, discouraged perhaps because the clear name, Dead Good Funerals, was taken.
I feel a memorial service should serve four functions: it has to help us recall that the dead person, grieve their departure, give us comfort and, ultimately, it has to call us to honouring their life throughout our very own.
These aims are satisfied with four components: words, music, visual imagery and ritual.
Abundant photographs, whether on a wall or even a slide screen, help us all remember. Other visuals reveal the character of the person who died. A person who loved to garden may be celebrated with a rich display of blossoms and plants. A hiker may be recalled by her own boots and walking stick, or a cook with his vest and Mixmaster. It might be a kayak, bike or favorite outfit or outfit which helps us remember and grieve.
Music may help us recall by reflecting the flavor of the deceased, while it is a choir acting Edelweiss, or Ella Fitzgerald belting out Mac the Knife. Music may also touch us a effective requiem could unlock our despair, even though a soloist singing Louis Armstrong’s What a superb World or The Beatles telling us Let It be can relaxation profoundly.
Eulogies are phrases that help us remember and grieve; poetry and prose could be powerful instruments: I’m the master of my fate: I am the captain of my spirit might amount up one lifetime, whilst age can’t wither nor custom stale her infinite selection, may celebrate yet another.
Words also offer relaxation. I’m not there I didn’t perish; the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference; yet,”I really hope to see my Pilot face to facehen I have crost the bar” are traces out of quotations or poetry (in the event of the above quotation, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson) that could admit and neutralize our distress or provide us comfort in our regret.
I guess a lot of us will agree with A.A. Milne’s Pooh Bear:”If you’re a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it”
Obtaining something right on newspaper helps us come to grips with a notion in a means that only thinking it in our own minds doesn’t. It deepens our understanding. Rituals likewise touch us deeply, producing more powerful feelings, than words or thoughts independently.
Traditional ceremonies utilize ritual at the interment of a coffin along with the scattering of dirt from the tomb; this could be a potent approach to help us take the truth of our loved one’s passing, opening the door to our despair.
I have used ritual to assist people who attend a party of lifestyle recall and honor the deceased in the manner in which they live their own lives.
I have immortalized gardeners with friends and nearest and dearest take seeds house to plantlife, and recalled hikers by giving away stones, exhorting every attendee to discover a location wild and lovely and return to character. I have honoured remarkable volunteers by calling all current to go and do something for somebody, to offer you a service that’s new and needed. Lighting a candle at the start of a ceremony, and snuffing out it close to the finish, is a highly effective ritual to help us moan.
If you think you do not want anybody to celebrate your life after you are gone, then I urge you to rethink. Frankly, at this point you are going to be dead, so while this is about you, it is not for you. Those you’ve loved and left behind want to grieve, to recall, to be comforted and to honor you in how that they live their lives out. You do not require a party of lifestyle however they do.
And if you don’t need you because you fear you are going to be a 21st-century Eleanor Rigby using a funeral to that nobody came, then you have been given a exceptional present. Call it your own Ebenezer Scrooge minute; the moment you realized that you had to alter your own daily life, to do something for someone that, when you die, there’ll be people who mourn your departure.