How to Plan a Memorial Service While Dealing with Grief

How to Plan a Memorial Service While Dealing with Grief

Dealing with grief after the loss of a loved one is always challenging. It can seem overwhelming. Amid this emotional whirlwind, you may be tasked with planning a memorial service, a special event to honor the life of the departed. If your loved one chose cremation, you might be wondering how best to incorporate the cremation urn into the service. This guide aims to help you navigate these waters and provide tips on how to plan and schedule a fitting tribute.

Feel free to share this post with other family members or friends who might help with coordinating the memorial service. It will be important for everyone to be on the same page.

Understanding the Purpose of a Memorial Service

A memorial service is more than just a funeral. It's a time to celebrate a life lived, share stories, and begin the process of healing. While dealing with grief, it's important to remember that it's okay to laugh, cry, and express all the emotions that come with saying goodbye.

You will probably go through a vast array of emotions. And so will the rest of the friends and family. Reach out to them for support. They will also be reaching out to you.

Planning the Service While Dealing With Grief

Start by deciding on a date and location. You might choose a favorite place of your loved one or a simple indoor venue. The service can be as formal or informal as you wish, based on what feels right. In terms of scheduling, make sure to provide guests with enough notice and consider their availability when setting the date. You might consider writing a short obituary for Social Media so that everyone can share. 

If the deceased loved the outdoors, a picnic would be a great idea. If they were religious, their church would be perfect. I have seen people have bands at wakes and memorial services. That would be great if the departed was a fan of live music. Think about what they would like.

Incorporating the Cremation Urn

Including the urn in the service can be a powerful and symbolic way to honor your loved one. Here are a few ways to display the urn:

Place the urn on a dedicated table: A small table, possibly covered with a cloth of significance, can serve as a good base for the urn. You can surround it with photographs, favorite items, or flowers.

Light candles around the urn: Lighting a candle is a universal symbol of remembrance. Place a few around the urn to create a peaceful ambiance.

Create a memory board: A board with photos, notes, or mementos can be placed next to the urn. This interactive display invites guests to reminisce and share their memories.

Remember, the urn chosen is often reflective of the person it represents. There are many types of human ashes urns available, so choose one that feels fitting.

The Service Itself

The service should be a reflection of the life lived. You could include readings of favorite poems or passages, play their favorite music, or invite attendees to share stories. Encourage guests to speak from the heart, sharing both the happy and hard times. This shared experience can be a significant step in dealing with grief.

If you are planning the service yourself, reach out to the friends of the deceased. Ask other family members, coworkers, or even the clergy for ideas. At times like this, people seem to come together. It’s what makes the memorial service memorable.  

The Scatter or Interment

If you choose to scatter the ashes or inter the urn, you might wish to include this as part of the service. Ensure you're aware of any local laws regarding the scattering of ashes and that you have permission to do so if on private property.

When choosing a location to scatter the ashes, think of what your loved one would have liked. Was there a particular vacation spot like Panama City or the Great Smoky Mountains? Did they love Alaska or Hawaii. What were their favorite sports? Some people choose to have their ashes scattered near their favorite fishing lake or golf course. The possibilities are endless.

You could also just take the urn home and display it in a prominent place like the mantle or a side table.

Dealing With Grief After the Service

Following the memorial service, consider holding a reception where attendees can continue to share memories and support each other. It can be as simple as tea and sandwiches at home or a meal at a favorite restaurant.

Planning a memorial service while dealing with grief can seem daunting. But remember, it's about honoring your loved one and starting the healing process. Whether you choose a traditional urn for ashes or something more unique, the most important thing is that it feels right for you and the memory of your loved one.

Stan Reese is President and founder of Eternal Alaska

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