Arranging a funeral can leave the most capable and organized of us floundering. It’s one of those things that we never think about, hoping that, for many reasons, we won’t ever have to deal with. However, if you do ever find yourself in the position of having to deal with the funeral arrangements of a loved one, remember there are a number of ways to make the funeral reflect the true individuality of the deceased, and to help family and friends remember the ways in which that person touched their lives. From music to memorials, there are ways to make saying goodbye, and remembering, unique.
Music is evocative and moving. The impression a piece of music creates can be lasting. Choose a piece of music that reflects the deceased, perhaps something by their favorite singer/songwriter, or a tune from a musical they loved. There are staple songs that are always played at funerals, apparently (a sort of “Top 10 of funeral songs”): Robbie Williams’ “Angels” is a popular choice, and so is Nick Cave’s “Into Your Arms.” Your choice doesn’t have to contain obvious lyrics. You can choose a song you might have often heard the deceased singing or a song they always played on the jukebox when you went to the pub together. A piece of music that you, and others, associate with the deceased, in whatever way, is a good choice.
The eulogy serves to remind us of the deceased’s unique qualities, those special traits and characteristics that his or her friends found endearing (although perhaps not all the time!). Remember, there’s no need to canonize someone just because they’ve died. There’s probably a balance between being honest and paying tribute, but if you speak from the heart you will find it. Don’t make the eulogy too much about yourself. This is probably quite difficult, as you will only be able to speak of what you know about the deceased as a result of your relationship with him or her, but remember that the eulogy is about the deceased, it’s a celebration of his or her life, no one else’s.
As with the music, you can make any notice you place in a local or national paper, or publication, as personal as you wish. You could always come up with your own words, or if you’re struggling to think of something suitable then you could include a poem, or perhaps a verse from the deceased’s favorite author.
Book of Remembrance
A book of remembrance is a nice way of putting together the thoughts and memories of friends and family. Some people find it difficult to articulate their thoughts face-to-face, particularly to family members of the deceased, so a book of remembrance is one way that they can “say” what they truly feel. It’s a lovely keepsake, especially if interspersed with photos of the deceased. Depending on the size of the book of remembrance, once completed, it can be copied and handed out as a thank-you to those who provided support and help during difficult times.
A memorial such as a headstone is a more public tribute to the deceased, and one which will last many years. Before ordering a headstone, check with your chosen churchyard or cemetery in case they have regulations regarding the erection of headstones.
Nowadays it’s possible to create an online memorial that friends and family can access. An online memorial can contain photos and video clips of the deceased and can be easily shared just by emailing the link. This is another nice way to say thank you to those people who provided support and help when it was most needed.