I was chatting to a friend of mine who had lost a family member earlier this year and we were talking about how tough it was for large families, who had to make a decision on who should be in the crematorium.
People have become really creative in the ways they've shown their respects to people they love, I've seen people line the streets along the route the coffin has taken, equally some people have stood alongside the road up to the crematorium, or waited outside and I personally think the introduction of the technology to webcast a funeral has been a fantastic thing for people who are physically unable to attend.
One thing that hasn't been able to be replicated is the wake, and my friend and I were talking about how we'd taken for granted just how important they are.
For my Mum and my Dad, I found it really comforting to be able to spend some time with their friends and share memories (some of which I didn't know), laugh and cry and raise a glass to them. It was something really important and I know it might seem a weird thing to say, but I treasure have been able to do this.
The pandemic has taken that away from people and I've seen some family and friends after the service spend a few moments outside the chapel sharing memories, but it's been a snatched 10 minutes. Some families have stood in the carpark away from view and toasted their loved one with a can of gin and tonic. It's felt like they've needed something..... even a little bit of something else to complete the ritual of saying goodbye.
Now restrictions are starting to lift, some families have started to contact me regarding holding a memorial service for their loved one, and I think these are a lovely idea, which is a chance to bring everyone together to honour your loved one and can help the healing process.
What Does a Memorial Service Involve?
The simple answer is, it can involve whatever you want, but to give it some context, it can be held wherever you want (subject to the easing of lockdown restrictions), so if you want to do it somewhere that meant a lot to the deceased (a favourite restaurant / golf club etc) or even at home, then you can.
During the ceremony, you can include whatever you want, readings, poems, music, a eulogy, you can get friends to share their memories, you could light candles or maybe even create a photo collage, where everyone can bring along a photo of that means a lot. If there's the technology, you could create a slide show of photos and videos.
It might be that the deceased's ashes are present.
The service would normally last about 30 minutes and depending on the location, it might be that you could then hold a wake afterwards.
If you'd like to talk to me about organising a memorial service for your loved one, then please do, I can offer advice on locations and help you with planning, please contact me either via my website here or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org