What is the importance of a funeral?
Today, people all over the world commemorate their loved ones with
ceremonies that reflect their religious or cultural attitudes toward
death. We have rituals for other passages of life, such as: graduations
Therefore we need a ritual for death, one of the
most significant of all passages. A funeral isn't to recognize a
life has ended, it is to recognize that a life was lived. The funeral
offers survivors a chance to gather and recall what mattered to
them about the deceased's life, their accomplishments, friendships,
guidance or love.
The funeral also helps the survivors to heal emotionally. When someone
we love dies, we experience grief even though it hurts, it is something
that shouldn't be avoided. Grief is part of the healing process
that allows us to separate ourselves from the deceased person and
go on with our lives.
There are many emotions that accompany the death; they
are important steps in grieving. These emotions range may be anger,
guilt, fear, sorrow and depression. The funeral gives mourners a
place to express those feelings. Mourners are stimulated to talk
about the deceased. This is one of the first steps towards accepting
the death. The funeral brings a community of mourners who, by supporting
each other, can help themselves through a difficult period.
In order to resolve their grief, mourners need to accept the
reality of death not only on an intellectual level, but on an emotional
level as well. This is the reason the traditional funeral is usually
preceded by an open casket visitation period. This may seem unnecessary,
but many grief experts say nothing helps a person accept the death
of a loved one as much as seeing them. Viewing helps grieving because
you are shown that there is no return.
The final disposition is the most powerful moment in the entire
funeral process. For survivors, this is a strong symbolic moment.
It is a confirmation that they must let go of the person who has
died and they must look ahead to a changed life.
For this reason, it is important for a family to choose a final
disposition most meaningful to them and most appropriate for the
The following are types of dispositions.
Earth Burial- Also known as an interment. This is
the most traditional form of disposition in the U.S. We Americans seem
to prefer the idea of a final resting place and a graveside where
we can go to remember the person that died.
Entombment- Like burial, it offers a fixed, final
resting place. When a body is entombed, the casket is placed in
a mausoleum, which is an above ground structure usually made of
marble, stone or concrete.
Cremation- Often accompanied by the rites and ceremonies
of funeralization, including embalming and visitation. Final disposition
options include earth burial, entombment and sea scattering. Cremation
urns are available for permanent containers.
The following are types of services.
Traditional - Usually
includes a viewing and a formal service with the body present.
Memorial - A service without the body
present, but may or may not have the ashes present.
Direct - No viewing or no services.
What is Cremation?
Cremation is a process, which reduces the body to the elements by
means of flame and intense heat. This takes place in a specially
designed type of furnace called a retort chamber. After the cremation,
the cremated body is processed into finer particles.
Cremation is a common form of final
disposition in the U.S. During the last two decades, cremation has
increased steadily in the U.S. and Canada.
Some are quite surprised to learn that cremation does not preclude
a funeral with all the traditional aspects of the ceremony. Visitation
or viewing with a funeral ceremony and church or memorial service
are options to be considered.
Cremation is selected for many reasons. It ranges from religious
beliefs or ethnic customs to cost. Most families electing cremation
are believed to do so simply because of personal preference. Cremation,
or any other funeral service option, should not be selected in an
attempt to hasten or circumvent the grieving process. The grieving
process is a necessary part of readjusting to life, after death
has delivered a great sense of pain and loss.
Cremation offers a variety of options for the final
disposition of a human body. Urns or other containers may be placed
in a niche at a columbariun, which is a structure or a room designed
to contain cremated remains. Families may elect to bury the urn
in a family plot or cemetery. Or the urn may be kept in another
place of personal preference, such as one's home. Subject to some
restrictions, cremated remains can be scattered by airplane, over
the ground in a cemetery scattering garden or at Sea.