It’s important to have a funeral, and I’ve looked at funerals from both sides of the fence, as a funeral provider and as a funeral participant.
As a funeral director, you can get a bit hardened to death and dying and it’s not until you lose someone that the reality check sets in. My father and I were estranged for some 15 odd years (he was a rather strange Yorkshireman and fell out with everyone from time to time). However, we reconciled our differences and had a good few years towards the end of his life. Dad was 98 when he passed away, he was independent up until his 98th birthday and fought like you wouldn’t believe to avoid assisted living.
We were lucky and find a great place, but dad told me he felt like a bird without feathers and pleaded to get out of jail.
If you’re going on the same journey with your loved ones, I empathise with you.
Two weeks later he said that he wanted to die. He was lucid and we had a long and emotional discussion until I conceded that he had made a rational decision. And true to form, dad refused to eat and passed away ten days later.
Dad didn’t want a formal funeral, just an unattended cremation and his ashes were to be scattered in a special place. I had time to say goodbye to dad and didn’t regret his decision at the time. My sister on the other hand, regrets not having had a formal funeral and in retrospect, to give her closure, a formal funeral would have been appropriate.
All in all, the purpose of this blog is to get people thinking about the pros and cons of conducted funerals.
I feel that dads’ wishes were respected but it’s important to ask who is the funeral for? Is it for the living or the dead?
It’s a combination of the both, people need to grieve, and lives need to be celebrated. Funeral ceremonies afford people those opportunities. In retrospect, if I could do things differently I would. So, it’s worth considering long and hard the value of a funeral to your family.