Many people say ‘I don’t want a service; I want to keep it simple’. Keeping things simple and affordable is what Simplicity does best but everyone needs an opportunity to say goodbye, even in the simplest form.
We need to say our goodbyes, we need to grieve, we need to be with people to give and receive support and we need some form of goodbye, even a simple one, to help us cope.
We can underestimate just how much value a funeral can be to us. Since time began, all cultures have created rituals to honour their dead – they knew that we have a need to acknowledge what the person meant to us and know that they have been respectfully ‘laid to rest’.
When someone dies, the funeral is not for them, it’s about them. The funeral is for everyone who knew, loved and was connected to that person. This is a simple fact.
For some people, the word ‘funeral’ misrepresents the fact they may want a simple farewell. You don’t have to call it a funeral; call it a gathering, a tribute, a farewell, a ceremony, a send-off, a get-together, a muster, whatever suits you best.
A funeral helps to get the grief moving so that it doesn’t get stuck inside.
Researchers and psychologists are very clear in their message about funerals and grief: participating in a funeral helps to counter the initial effects of grief like shock, numbness and disbelief. Funerals underpin a necessary part of grieving as they reinforce the reality that the death has actually happened.
We need to allow our grief to surface and a funeral provides a safe and appropriate place to show and share our feelings with others. This sets the foundations for ‘good grief’ or healthy grieving. As human beings, we need to grieve.
A funeral is seen as the right time and place for people to be together to talk, to support each other, to reminisce and tell stories, to pay their respects, to let you know that they care about you.
Having this kind of support is vital in the weeks and months after the funeral when the reality of the loss really starts to sink in, and we have to adapt to a life without someone who mattered to us.