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Making the funeral about the one who died

Published: March 13, 2020

A “personalized” funeral is not just for the rich and famous. When someone we love dies, we want to remember that person. We want to celebrate the life that was lived. A life story does not have to have a dramatic plot twist or culminate in fame and riches to be worthy of remembrance.

So, how does one go about putting together a life celebration?

Pictures are a great place to begin. Look for pictures that span their lifetime, show their personality, celebrate their relationships and friends, put them in the context of their work, hobbies, or passions. Most funeral homes now have equipment to create a video that can be shown in a loop on a television or larger screen.    It is also relatively inexpensive to get photographs of those milestone moments made large. Ask your funeral director how these can be displayed at the funeral. They can also direct you to local retailers who will be able to assist photographs.

Consider integrating pictures with the eulogy. For example, the eulogist might share stories about the childhood years of the person who died while childhood pictures are shown in the background. Don’t be shy about asking the funeral director for what you envision. Maybe you would like two different video tributes. One might showcase family life and one sports, hobbies or special interests. Just ask, funeral directors want the service to be meaningful for the family and friends. They are there to help you honor your loved one.

Music can also be a great background and can be integrated into the service. Nearly every family has someone who can put together a play list. Choose musical favorites of the deceased.  There are also many songs that relate to death or loss in every musical genre from country to classical. Be sure to check with your funeral director to make sure the format for the music you would like to use is compatible with the funeral home’s equipment.

There really is no end to the ways you can express the personality and interests of the person you loved and lost. Talk about your ideas with the key people in your family before you attend the arrangement conference with your funeral director. Then just ask away. Can we bring the dog? Can we bring in some of Mom’s artwork? Can we give everyone a golf ball? Just ask you might be surprised to find your funeral director has some helpful ideas for a fitting farewell.

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