Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This is Not Your Grandfather's Funeral

RJ Note: Oh, I don't know. I think the love that was in the room at my grandparents' funerals was pretty awesome. Sometimes, showing grief is a good thing.

(ARA) - The next time you attend a funeral, don’t be surprised if it more closely resembles the last wedding you went to than the somber farewell you bid your grandfather 20 years ago.

“In recent years, funeral services have gone from a more formal or structured service with religious music, scripture, prayers and little or no information regarding the life of the deceased to a celebration of a life remembered through various means of personalization,” says Billy C. Wells, the chief executive officer at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home, a premier Dignity Memorial funeral service provider in Houston, Texas. Wells has either handled or helped arrange hundreds of funerals in his nearly 50 years in the industry, and says those held in recent years are a lot more memorable than those of yesteryear.

“The key to turning a funeral into a celebration of the life lost,” he says, “is the personalization which allows and encourages the family, their friends and visitors, to talk about the deceased and how he or she relates to the personalization items on display.”

Here’s just a small sampling of some of the more unique funerals Wells has seen recently:

* At a funeral for a well-known concert pianist, instead of having a casket for the visitation, the family opted to have a Steinway and Sons piano moved to the gallery of the funeral home and the florist created a huge spray of white flowers cascading from the strings of the piano onto a large carpeting of flowers surrounding the piano.

* For one visitation family members brought in items related to the deceased’s work as a professional horseman. Saddles, boots, numerous square bales of hay, partial fence structures, even a live horse in a make-shift temporary corral, transformed much of the d├ęcor of the funeral home.

* The florist turned the funeral home chapel altar into a hunting blind because the deceased was an avid hunter, and his hunting dogs were nearby in hunting position.

“By focusing the funeral on things the deceased enjoyed, as well as the experiences shared throughout his or her life, it encourages the sharing of stories and discussions of the deceased, and in some instances, may allow the family to learn of specials things about their loved one that otherwise they may have never known,” says Wells.

In addition to personalization, other changes that characterize the modern day funeral:

* The music is no longer strictly religious hymns. It includes the favorite music of the deceased.

* Receptions at the funeral home, or the family’s home after the service are more the case today than the exception. Many times they are elaborate catered events with entertainment.

* There used to be a time when photos were considered inappropriate. Today, it is commonplace to have video tributes, memory boards with selected photos, and even interactive voice tributes from friends or uploaded video tributes made at the funeral home during the visitation.

“Funeral services are changing to meet the needs of a generation that has different ideas about life -- and about death,” comments Tom Hendler of the Dignity Memorial network of funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers. “This is not your grandfather’s funeral. You can expect more, demand more and we can meet those demands. Our service standards go beyond expectation, to a level of service that actually surprises families because it is so far beyond what they imagined.”

For more information about the services available at modern day funerals, log on to www.dignitymemorial.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

1 comment:

Joe said...

Right on the spot. By taking the time to draw the individuals personality into the funeral with creativity, you will help the bereaved adjust to life after the death of a loved one in a healthy manner. Good job.