The term “funeral” is defined as a ceremony held in connection with the burial or cremation of the deceased. Funerals have been recorded in pictures and words for thousands of years. Some say that, in the 21st century, funerals are changing. But it seems evident that, since they’ve been described since the beginning of recorded history, there is a need for such ceremonies.
Death is such a drastic change, for the deceased obviously, but also for family and friends of the deceased. Funerals cause us to acknowledge that someone has died and permit us to openly and realistically face the crisis that this change presents. This is the first big step in the process of dealing with the sadness and grief associated with separation.
The process of gathering together is important. The pain of bereavement suffered in solitude is heavier to bear than pain that is shared. Expressions of consolation, freely given and freely received, are beneficial to both the recipient and the giver. Funerals offer a safe setting in which grief can be expressed. Often just seeing how much others care by taking time from their busy schedules to honor and pay their respects can be a tremendous help to family adjusting to their loss.
Remembrance of the deceased is important in helping us deal with grief and bereavement. The framework of the funeral provides the opportunity to honor and celebrate the life. Knowing that the memory of the deceased will live on makes the reality of the loss a little easier to bear.
Surveys tell us that the vast majority of people around the world, whether they be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu, believe in God. Most religions also teach that people have a soul or spirit that lives on after death. It is the hope of all believers that their soul will spend eternity with God following death of the physical body. In other words, death is just a transition from life on earth, which can be associated with pain and suffering, to a glorious life everlasting with God. This is an encouraging and uplifting message at most funerals. The music and prayers help with this process.
As a third generation funeral home owner, I have attended countless funerals and have seen that people arriving at funerals are often quite sad and somber. As they honor and celebrate the life on earth and contemplate the hope of a glorious afterlife for the deceased, the sadness often begins to lessen. They have begun the important process of dealing with and moving past the sadness and grief associated with the death of their loved one. This is the great value of the ceremonies known as funerals.