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Are memorials becoming more popular than funerals?
It seems in recent times, more families, who would normally be choosing a civil funeral service, are having a private service or even a simple viewing to say 'goodbye' to their loved one, then organising a Memorial for the wider circle of family and friends a few weeks later.
There may be many good reasons for taking this approach.
Flexibility with timing for the ceremony
Having a Memorial a few weeks after the death, gives extra time for planning the ceremony and more choice of day of the week, time of day, length and content of the ceremony, and location. This flexibility can be very useful where family and friends are overseas or interstate.
The family can take time to find a civil celebrant who suits the style of tribute the family wants. Civil celebrants are very flexible about the arrangements and will encourage family members to be involved in planning the ceremony and actively participating in it.
Consideration of Costs
You may have a beautiful urn or hand crafted box with the deceased’s ashes as a focal point. You may have a favourite photo, or display of personal items in place.
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I've worked with funeral directors who are wonderful - friendly and helpful to the family of the deceased and professional and generous with me. I have worked with one who lectured me because the family entered the venue 'too soon'. He spent the entire ceremony looking at his watch and at the conclusion where people were filing past to lay a flower on the coffin, he physically hustled the mourners outside to make way for the the next funeral. Yes I think memorial ceremonies directed by civil celebrants according to the wishes of the family and at a venue of their choice, are a fabulous idea.
I agree Fiona.
My most recent Memorial Ceremony was for the parents of a 50 year old women with intellectual disabilities.
Her uncle arranged a Memorial Space in his garden with a Brass Plague commenorating his brother and suister-in-law, so his neice could come somewhere safe to pay her respects to her parents. The ceremony used music and songs from her childhood, and we included an "official" opening of the Memory Garden with springs of rosemary etc.
It is such a privilege to work with families to create something uniquely personal yet at the same time honouring the lives of those who have died.
I have been privileged to lead a memorial ceremony which was held beside a beautiful waterway where family and friends gathered to farewell their loved one. We were able to scatter the ashes, hear from family and take our time in honouring this beautiful soul. I have to admit it is quite empowering to have had more time to consider what the family wanted and allowed for interstate family to meet up.It also would have reduced costs considerably which at these times can be very stressful.
I am really thinking about my farewell and this is an alternative that very much appeals to me.