Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Matter of Convenience...

We live in a society today that values convenience, sometimes above all else.  Instant gratification has become the norm in many aspects of our lives. Many believe that this shift in our society is what has caused the public to lean toward direct cremation as a quick and easy, "convenient" solution for families when a death occurs. Several families choose to skip the traditional viewing and funeral service, opting instead for a more convenient, quicker, and easier direct cremation. Many who decide to pre-plan their own funerals do the same, believing that their loved ones would not wish to go to the trouble of a service, where the deceased is eulogized and remembered. For some, this option seems like the perfect way to prevent their loved ones suffering further upon their death, but does it really?

Many people fail to understand that a funeral ceremony, even a quick viewing before a direct cremation, or a memorial service with the cremated remains present, is incredibly helpful to loved ones left behind.  It gives them a sense of closure, and can assist them emotionally as they struggle with the grief and finality that a death brings.  The funeral ceremony, where we acknowledge our feelings of pain and grief, goes a long way toward helping us heal.  It also helps us to make the transition to living without our loved one who has moved on. When planning this funeral ceremony, it is important to remember to personalize the ceremony, and eulogize your loved one in a meaningful, and personal way.  Many people choose to hire a pastor or someone to conduct the ceremony that may not have even met the person being eulogized.  Sometimes this can be a mistake.  Make sure that the person you choose to speak about your loved one knows them, and is close to them.  Many people regret having a service that is generic, or not personal enough.

In the book, "Funeral Home Customer Service, A-Z", it talks about this shift toward cremation as a convenient solution, and how some don't understand the need for a personalized, and intimate funeral or memorial service to help those yet living to heal.  Immediately following their mothers death, one family in Texas made the decision to hire a clergy they had never met, and proceed with a generic funeral service that ended up causing years of heartache for her daughter. Even many years later, she still had feelings of guilt and regret about the generic and impersonal funeral service they held.  She decided to write a belated obituary to the Houston Chronicle 5 years later, expressing her feelings.  This is that letter.

In Memory of Joy E. McClosky
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who grieved with us when we lost my mother five years ago, and apologize for the generic funeral we had for her.  In my state of shock and grief, I made a very bad choice with her funeral and the lack of appropriate eulogy.  I'd like to try, in a small way, to make up for it now. She was such a special person that I really don't know the right words to truly express how I feel.  All I can say is there is a hole in my heart with her gone, that no one else will ever be able to full.  And my heart hurts every day for my youngest daughter who was only seven weeks old when "Dee" died.  Sara will never know the grandmother who loved to talk, sing and get down on the floor with her grand kids to play.  She'll never taste the special meals Dee cooked, that I have never been able to duplicate.  She'll never know the comfort of talking to Dee when you're feeling bad, and the special way that Dee had for making you feel better.  She'll never know the total accepting love that Dee had so no matter what you may have done or said wrong, it didn't matter to her at all.  I can only wish that somehow there is enough of Dee in my other two kids and myself, so somehow my other daughter can feel her through us.  I pray that we'll all make the right choices in life so that one day we'll join her again and my sweet daughter will know her grandmother's love first hand.  Momma--I love you, and I miss you with all my heart.

For those who think that a direct cremation with no service, or a generic memorial service is the quick, easy, and "convenient" way to go, this letter might make you take pause.  While you might think that "no one wants to go to the trouble", you could also be wrong. It is helpful, and healing for family and loved ones to honor and eulogize those who have passed on to the next life. Whether you opt for a more traditional service or memorial, or a more modern, Celebration of Life ceremony, or informal get together;  any type of service that allows you to visit with loved ones, share memories, share your grief and pain, and publicly acknowledge their death, could end up being the difference between years of guilt and remorse, or the satisfaction of knowing that you honored them in their death, as you did while they were alive. Here at Legacy Funeral Home, we are honored to help you plan the service that is right for your family.  Please let us help you design a memorial or funeral service that will help you and your family on the road to healing.

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