Remembering Your Loved Ones
Losing a Loved One
Dealing with the Pain of a Loss
Losing a Child
Coping with Grief
Coping with Suicide
How To Memorialize
A Guide on Memorialization
Memorialize 101 is a course that may catch some people by surprise. If you are under the impression that options for memorializing a loved one are limited to the “traditional” funeral followed by a standard grave-side service, well, Memorialize 101 is a must-read for you. Plenty of other options abound, some even less expensive than the traditional funeral service.
On with the class:
The most important thing to learn in Memorialize 101 is that, despite what memorial industry sales people may try to tell you, there is no such thing as “traditional” when it comes to memorializing.
A good memorial will celebrate a person’s personality accurately, and, since no two personalities are ever exactly alike, no two memorials should be alike either. The main point of a memorial service is not only to honor the memory of a lost loved one, but the celebrate the life the lived as well. So, just politely reject that offer when the funeral director recommends a nice “traditional” service, and don’t be afraid to make some modifications.
Now don’t get us wrong, what funeral expert’s call “traditional” is not entirely bad, and it may be a great starting point for designing your own memorial. But you should feel free to make modifications until your heart (and spirit) is content. A memorial service doesn’t have to be elaborate, quiet and sad. (In fact, the elaborate part, more often than not, is just what the funeral home cooked up to keep the bill as high as possible.) A memorial service can be simple, and should be if that reflects the lost individual's character. Some services today are done among a few friends near a back yard barbeque grill, for example. Others are done in a favorite public park or along a cherished stretch of highway. Memorialization can (and should) be done in any spot and on any kind of setting that is meaningful to the life being celebrated.
The next thing to remember is that memorialization does not have to be a formal affair. What better way to celebrate a whimsical person’s life than with a whimsical memorial. Off-color commentary, practical jokes, dancing and even good food and music are hardly ever part of a “traditional memorial,” but Memorialize 101 urges you to ask, 'Why not?'. If a person you are remembering during a celebration was committed to Carpe Diem, then Carpe Diem should be the theme of the memorial celebration. Anything else would be, well, sad.
The overall point to remember when considering memorialize 101 is to make every memorial a fitting celebration of your loved one’s life. If your family member would never have been caught dead in a suit and tie during his life time, then suits and ties should be discouraged (heavily!) at the funeral, and the casket or urn selection should follow suit. Nothing formal will do for a woman whose great joy in life was passionately playing with generations of her neighborhood’s children. Likewise, a traditionally looking “Grecian-styled” urn will simply not work for a man who spent his life challenging all that was traditional about man-kind.
The bottom line is, you should be very careful when planning ways to memorialize the loved one’s of your life. Carelessly accepting ideas for “traditional” memorials may end up doing your precious memories a great disservice.