The Grief Journey

Why Funeral Services Still Matter

A casket topped with a flower arrangement representing the funeral services offered by Funeralocity in New Orleans, LA

Do funerals matter anymore? With the rise of cremations and changing consumer preferences disrupting the traditional ways of the funeral industry, holding a memorial service for a loved one might no longer seem like a necessity. But funeral rituals still hold significant meaning and are an important part of the end-of-life process that shouldn’t be ignored.

A funeral or memorial service serves many purposes. The ceremony brings people together to say a final goodbye and allows the bereaved to honor and celebrate their loved one with friends, neighbors, and others in the community. But it’s not just about acknowledging the loss of the deceased; a funeral gathering also benefits the mourners. Here are some of the ways that funeral and memorial services help those who are left behind.

Acceptance of Death

When a loved one dies, it can be difficult for family members and close friends to accept the finality of death. When the body is present during a viewing or at the funeral service, it reinforces the reality of the moment and is a visual reminder that can help mourners cope with the loss. Viewings are usually held a day or two before the funeral so guests who aren’t attending the service can also pay respects to the deceased and offer condolences.

A memorial service differs from a traditional funeral in that the body has already been cremated and is not present. However, many families choose to display the cremation urn that contains their loved one’s ashes during the ceremony or feature other memorial symbols in honor of the deceased.

Collective Support

A funeral service is essentially a gathering that brings people together to honor and remember a loved one. The ceremony is meaningful in that it allows people to give and receive support as they grieve together. Even though death can be tragic, the customary ritual is a special time for people to talk about the person who passed, share stories and memories, and be there for each other in a time of sorrow. This type of emotional support is especially meaningful to the bereaved as it shows them they are not alone, and the community is ready to assist if needed.

Coping With Grief

A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General shows that rituals such as funerals can help people cope with grief. Grief is a personal experience, but funeral and memorial services provide an opportunity for people to openly grieve the loss of a loved one without feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious.

A funeral doesn’t necessarily provide “closure” when it comes to grief, but it offers funeral guests a safe space where crying, mourning, and showing emotion is acceptable. This is especially true for children who attend a loved one’s funeral. Children often don’t understand why or how someone died, but they can learn about the significance of the event by experiencing the reactions of others and seeing that grief is normal. Holding a funeral or memorial service can be therapeutic for everyone involved.

Planning a Memorial Service

Funerals don’t have to be sad, solemn occasions. Some families skip the funeral or memorial service for this reason, but there are a variety of ways to plan a meaningful ceremony that is personalized, celebratory, and dignified.

Funeralocity can help you compare funeral homes and plan memorial services when it comes time to celebrate the life of a loved one. To get started, choose a qualified funeral provider who can guide you through all the major steps.

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