The Final Act: Planning a Memorial Service to Honor a Loved One

Losing a loved one is never easy. By the sheer nature of the situation, those closest to that person are often tasked with planning the funeral or memorial service if they didn’t pre-plan their own. In cases of younger individuals, pre-planning is almost never a reality. This leaves those with the most grief as the last ones who get to grieve.

Making sure the loved one’s memory is honored in a special way while managing your own wellbeing during a time of great loss can be challenging, especially if you are left with the financial burden of the service as well. Scott Funeral Home explains that choosing a memorial service that is right for the person who passed, the person who is planning, and the people who want to pay their respects can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

It’s For You

Two Views notes that funerals and memorial services are actually for the living. Remembering that can help with planning. The intention is to honor the departed, but the ritual is for those who continue to live, so they can remember fondly, let go of old grudges, or pay tribute to someone who was kind and loving to them.

As long as the service doesn’t dishonor the dead by ignoring a religious custom or personal belief (or imparting on them rights they didn’t believe in), then anything done in the spirit of celebrating their life and mourning their death is acceptable, under whatever terms the person designated to plan the event sees fit. This includes setting up a nonprofit in your loved one’s honor. This may be focused on an organization or a cause that your loved one was particularly passionate about; you can allow guests at the service contribute as well, to get the nonprofit off the ground and funded.

Consider The Options

Sometimes, folks have preconceived notions or personal beliefs, or a financial situation that drives them toward an opened or closed casket or cremation. If your loved one didn’t specify, and no family traditions direct you to a specific option, then pick the one that makes the most sense for the circumstance. Considerations may include the condition of the body, cost, burial location, and legal factors.

The Guardian points out that it’s becoming more common for individuals to keep the cremains of a loved one, whether it is a small amount in a personalized keepsake, or a larger urn containing them all. Both states and religions have specific guidelines regarding remains and cremation. Before making a decision, it is important to consider what the chain of custody will be of remains that aren’t buried or interred in a monument, especially after the individual who chooses to keep the remains passes away.

Planning The Service

Just as there are many options for handling your loved one’s remains, there are many options for funeral and memorial services that go along with them. There is a Funeral Rule established by the Federal Trade Commission that will help clarify some of the things you can and cannot do, particularly in regard to choosing what services are necessary and who can provide them.

Traditionally, the service might be held at a church, but many modern funerals are held at a funeral home. Whether you choose to have a viewing, an urn, or no remains at the service at all, you can have it anywhere you choose, including at home. While some considerations must be made regarding the space needed to host this in a home, sometimes having the service at home can help those mourning a loved one feel closer to them.

Choosing to have a procession regardless of your choices for the remains or location can also be a meaningful way to honor your loved one. Processions are a particularly important honor for those who served in the military, regardless of age or cause of death. If your loved one was in the military, be sure to consider the special arrangements that can be made for them in honor of their service.

Regardless of how your loved one passed, mourning their loss in a meaningful way is an important part of grieving. Remember that the service is for you as much as it is for them. As difficult as it may be, take a little time to learn about the options and process the situation before making any final decisions. Whether you plan something traditional or totally unique, the details should be specific to your needs and the wishes of the person you are honoring.

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Scott Funeral Home helps take some of the burden off of your shoulders by providing an abundant range of personalized services that meet the needs and requirements of your loved one and family members. Reach out today for more information by calling 253.572.9555.

Lucille Rosetti