Having a cremation ≠ no funeral service.
Cremations are becoming more and more popular, that much is clear. But with it, there is also a trend towards skipping any kind of service. Not cool!
Sometimes, if there is literally no family left, or there was explicit, uncompromising instructions (like David Bowie left) for ‘no service,’ then okay.
But we mustn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. If the old-fashioned full funeral of wake/viewing and burial in a fancy casket isn’t very appealing any longer, we needn’t go to the other end of the spectrum and do nothing to commemorate someone’s life. Isn’t that just as weirdly extreme?
Burial, cremation, body donation… these are ways of disposing of a body. (And composting coming into the mix with Washington leading the way.) If you were to dissect a traditional funeral, however, that part would really have nothing to do with the ‘honoring’ part, where you say goodbye and remember them, and hopefully, celebrate their contribution to your life. We can’t equate the body disposition with how we’re honoring someone. The former is required by law, the latter is all in our hands.
How we deal with a lifeless body is but one decision in the scope of death. It’s one determination in a big list of things that need to be dealt with. Honoring the person who once inhabited that body — that is not required by law, but comes from the heart. It is born out of our love. It’s our expression of gratitude, respect, and depth of feelings.
There’s scores of blog posts here that I’ve written about the creative ways to do that, and why it makes such a difference in the healing process. Go read any one of ‘em. I Want a Fun Funeral exists to inspire people to honor each other with depth and involvement, going all out to celebrate the life of this person you loved so much.
This particular blog post is to reinforce that belief — with a crucial reminder that cremation does not, and should not, mean a reduction in the ‘honoring’ department. Low maintenance/lower cost funeral disposition methods only mean less involvement of the funeral professionals in their provided environments; there’s no reason they should mean less caring or celebrating.
You can (still) use funeral directors to carry out a service elsewhere, use your own clergy, find a celebrant, conduct your own… or just skip a formal service per se, and have your celebration or party (or whatever kind of event you want to create) on your own.
And if you’re open to such adventure, but lack ideas — sing out! Call me or send an email and I’ll joyfully help you see what’s possible.