Why funerals are important
Updated: Nov 20, 2019
There has been much in the media recently about direct cremation (or direct to cremator) which appear to have grown in popularity over recent times. Basically, this means that when somebody dies, there is no service and their body is simply conveyed to the crematorium to be cremated.
The interest in this type of funeral is primarily down to two factors – firstly, some high-profile people have specifically asked for it and this has been picked up as different or novel by the media. One well-documented example was pop star David Bowie, who died in 2016 and was reportedly cremated without anyone being present, telling his loved ones that he did not want a funeral service.
Secondly, there is no argument that this option does save some money and people may well be drawn to it because of that, however there are many ways to save money on a traditional funeral including a service.
Added to this, the direct cremation option is generally chosen when somebody dies without any friends or relatives to make the arrangements. But this, thankfully, is an unusual situation.
According to SunLife, currently only about 2 per cent of cremations are direct services, which amounts to around 8,000 a year. However, the insurer said that once people had the direct cremation option explained to them, 19 per cent of those surveyed said they would have considered it for the deceased and 44 per cent said they would consider a direct cremation for their own funeral, with men more likely to opt for one.
It is likely that people think they are either saving their loved ones the expense of a funeral or they simply don’t want the ‘fuss’ of a funeral for themselves. But what about those left behind?
While we will always listen to families who approach us and say that they have a limited budget, there are two key things to mention here. Whatever choices a family makes, we will always treat the deceased with absolute respect. Also, while the deceased might have thought that not having a service is somehow saving their friends and relatives some pain and fuss, a funeral service has a key role to play in helping people begin the journey of grief.
In an earlier blog, we explained that when somebody dies, there is usually funeral. If not, there is probably some sort of memorial service or gathering to mark that person’s passing. But, there are still rituals sounding a death and these can aid us with the grieving process.
Rituals are part of life and there are some we all observe. There might be particular things you do as a family on Christmas Day or somewhere you pop in to pick up a coffee on the way to work each day. Rituals make us feel ‘safe’ and give us routine and often some comfort as well.
Funerals have many rituals – whether it’s the way the coffin is brought to the chapel or simply the way everyone sits or stands at the same time. Psychologists believe that rituals help us in times of ‘chaos and disorder’. Having a set routine or certain rituals to perform helps people by bringing a sense of control and security.
Embracing the rituals associated with a funeral and of a death itself are an important way of saying goodbye to the person you love and begin the long process of rebuilding your life.
If you’ve got any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.