Planning a funeral or memorial service for a recently departed loved one is an emotionally and physically challenging task for all the family members involved. It takes a lot of planning, coordinating and work to get everything put together quickly and get the word out efficiently. Some might think then, that forgoing a service altogether might be more convenient and less of a burden on a family. But when your loved one clearly states they want nothing to do with a ceremony or anything associated with a funeral, what do you do then?
Some industry insiders have recently reported a surge of last wishes being that the deceased does not want a funeral or memorial service following their cremation; simply a family gathering after the cremation in order to scatter the ashes. While this can be somewhat of a relief for the family, who no longer has to plan a service or be saddled with the financial burden of a death, there still remains the question of how people that aren’t immediate family can pay respects.
Paying Your Respects When There is No Funeral
While your loved one may have meant their request to lessen the stress on the family or release the community from some need to attend a memorial service, many people feel the need to gather to celebrate someone’s life and mourn their death. What you can do in this case is respectfully let friends know the deceased did not want a service, but if a group of people want to get together for a luncheon or a night at their favorite watering hole, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
When you offer suggestions like this or have various events for a week or two after your family member’s death, you get a chance to meet up with a variety of friends, and share their life stories with many of them. You are also honoring your loved one’s wishes by not having a formal ceremony.
Alternative Ways to Honor a Loved One When There is No Funeral
If some friends are disappointed because they won’t be able to honor your loved one by attending the funeral, choose a charity that they can donate to on your family member’s behalf. This allows their friends to do something charitable and honor the deceased without forcing you to go against the wishes expressly set forth.
While foregoing a funeral is still not by any means the norm, there are ways to still mourn the loss as a community without going against the last requests of your loved one. If you would like other information or ideas on memorializing your loved one, head to the memorial section of our blog.