Why Should We Have Funerals?

As an end-of-life doula, I assist with funerals, memorial services and more. These gatherings of loved ones come with a variety of comforting traditions and no two ceremonies are alike. During the pandemic, attending services in person hasn’t been much of an option. Let’s bring them back to life. Why should we have funerals and memorial services? They’re important for many reasons.

Virtual Funerals

Thanks to technology, many daily routines can be done effectively online. Office work, for example. Some of us attend school, shop for groceries, and reconnect with friends who live on the other side of the world.

The internet has helped during an otherwise difficult and isolating few years. But it can only do so much.

As society re-opens, some of us are still in a remote mindset. A recent funeral service had more attendees online than in person.

This is troubling for many reasons.

Grief rituals play an important role in almost every religion and culture. Certainly, important components of these traditions involve honoring the dead and the disposition of their bodies.

Why are funerals important?

Funerals formally acknowledge the one certainty we all share. No matter our status, race, gender, or background – we are going to die. Funerals and memorial services help us face that reality in a meaningful way.

They also normalize grief. Sorrow’s appropriate expression, depending on our background and level of observance, allows us to move through the mourning process. It is often our most reliable way.

Funerals provide context and continuity. Guests arrive with compassion and stories to share. Surrounded by caring family and friends. Reciting prayers or poetry. All a component of lifesaving grace for those who must find the strength to go on living.

Embracing, hugging one another, and holding hands often translates to hope and reassurance.

These gifts cannot be fully received through a WiFi connection.

The lack of human touch, and the absence of in-person care and concern, agonize family and loved ones who’ve already suffered a heavy loss. Mourners attempting to make sense of despair should not be made to endure technical difficulties or faulty internet signals on top of everything else.

Literally holding each other during times of heartbreak – that’s how we heal.  

It’s what we give and receive when we show up to funerals in person.

Now that we are gathering together again for other life cycle events, let’s make time and space in our community for funerals and memorial services. Let’s leave our homes, phones, and computers behind for a few hours and console one another.

Let us mourn. Finally. Not just for the recently deceased, but anyone who’s left us these past few years.

Publicly acknowledging this great loss, a loss too many have had to face alone, is a way to truly honor the dead and comfort the living. This is why we should have funerals and memorial services.

Many traditions say our souls cannot exit this world without help from rituals. Souls left behind can’t heal without them either.

Contact us for funeral celebrants in Chicago and assistance in planning funerals or memorial services today.

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