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                                              Frequently Asked Questions
           Why is having a funeral ceremony important?
Throughout human history, and around the globe, people have gathered together to acknowledge the death of a member of the community. No matter who the deceased was, a funeral ceremony is the one (and sometimes the only) opportunity for everyone to come together to acknowledge the death, recognize the community’s shared loss, and share the burden of grief.
How does the cost for a funeral ceremony compare to the cost of a memorial service or celebration of life?
Attempting to compare the costs of the three is rather like trying to compare oranges, mangoes, and apples; it can’t be done. Perhaps it’s easier to see funerals, memorial services, and celebrations of life as three points on a spectrum-a range, if you like- of ceremonial formats. The cost of any of the three is totally dependent on the choices you make during the arrangement conference.
Who should be invited to a funeral?
This is a lot like asking “who should be invited to a wedding?” People who would want to be there. A person’s role at a funeral is two-fold: one, they are there to demonstrate support for the bereaved family; two, funeral guests are there to tend to their own sorrow; to begin to come to terms, in the safety of a shared collective experience, with the death of someone they held dear. While it’s not common to send out invitations to a funeral (generally, the service details are published in the newspaper or online, and those who wish to attend, do) it does make a certain amount of sense to reach out to certain individuals by phone, email, or social media to ensure they are aware of the service date/time (and express your desire for their presence).
When preparing the guest list for a funeral service, you should both listen to your heart and use common
sense. You know the people that mattered most to your loved one, as well as those who mattered least.
Is it necessary to have flowers at the ceremony?
Flowers create a background of warmth and beauty which adds to the dignity and consolation of the funeral service. “Necessary” may not be the right word but there’s no doubt flowers at a funeral or other end-of-life ceremony serve valuable purposes including a means of a visual expression of sympathy, love, and respect or a means of lending support.
What does the phrase “in lieu of flowers” mean?
You may have read this phrase in an obituary: “In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to...” Derived from the French phrase, “en lieu”, strictly speaking, “in lieu” means “in place”; so it can be said to be a directive sentence: “In place of flowers, contributions may be made to...” But it’s really important to realize that its use doesn’t imply you can’t send flowers to the service; it is only meant to offer you a choice of ways to show your sympathy for the family and show your respects for the deceased. Only when the obituary states “no flowers please” are you being requested to abstain from sending floral tributes or sympathy arrangements.
If one is requested, am I obligated to make a memorial donation?
Certainly not; it’s important to never feel obligated to do anything in response to the death of a community or family member. Your actions (whether sending flowers, preparing a casserole and taking it to the family home, or making a donation) should always come from the heart.
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