Funeral Services: Your OptionsFuneral Services: Your Options


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Funeral Services: Your Options

As the saying goes, 'In the midst of life, we are in death.' Losing a loved one or thinking about planning your own funeral is very going to be a very nice or easy process. However, it is an unavoidable fact of life that at some point we all have to face our own mortality. Last year, after losing my mother and father in close succession and making the arrangements for their funerals and burial, I decided to put some plans in place for my own funeral service so that it is easier for those I leave behind. I have learnt a lot about funerals and I would like to share it here.

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An Acknowledgement of Death, A Celebration of Life: A Truly Non-Traditional Funeral

There are a number of articles and online resources that claim to give you ideas about how to have a truly unique and non-traditional funeral, most of which are called how to put the fun back into funerals, or something similar. Most of these sources are generally just concerned with ideas for the scattering of ashes after cremation, as opposed to the funeral itself. Like many countries, Australia has an aging population, with people aged 45 and over now outnumbering younger Australians for the first time since federation. Being in your mid-40s is not really a point where most people begin planning for their own funeral, but as life expectancy increases, many older people want to have a hand in planning their own funeral, like an American woman who planned her own wake (featuring an open bar and a no crying zone). If you're pondering what your own funeral will be like, and you know you don't want a traditional service, what are some of the ways in which you can make your funeral an original event?

Get the Music Started

Sombre or even joyous hymns are traditional for a funeral, but they can be out of place unless you're religious. It's your funeral, so choose the music you like, regardless of how inappropriate the music might be! Pop songs, rap, heavy metal, whatever music made you happy is going to be best choice. The thought of your nearest and dearest singing along to your favourite Madonna hit from the 80s could actually be rather touching. Most funeral homes have a private funeral chapel, allowing you to play loud music in privacy.

What to Wear

Black is the traditional mourning colour, but your funeral isn't going to be traditional. Sure, you could request that everyone dresses in your favourite colour, but you could take it even further. Why not request that everyone comes in fancy dress, themed around something that was special to you. The time and effort everyone puts into their costumes is a nice way for them to remember you.

Shared Memories

Unless you wish to have a religious service, you could opt for something less structured. It's common for services to allow anyone to come to the podium to share their memories of you, but again, you can take this in a different direction. Why not have everyone write down a special memory of you, which is then placed into a hat. These memories can be randomly picked out, with everyone then encouraged to talk about it in a group. This also accommodates your loved ones who might simply be too sad to get in front of everyone and speak in a formal context.

A funeral should be an acknowledgement of death while also being a celebration of life. And a traditional funeral isn't always the most fitting tribute to a remarkable, non-traditional life.