Over time customs and rituals have evolved. Those that remain with us today are the ones that have proven to offer the greatest comfort and support. The funeral is a final opportunity for family and friends to publicly express their love and respect for the person who has died. If it is arranged carefully and sensitively so that it reflects the feelings and fulfils the needs of everyone attending, then it can be enormously beneficial in helping people come to terms with their loss.
The funeral represents the first and most important step towards working through one’s grief and readjusting to life. Its significant therapeutic value is widely recognised.
From a practical point of view, the funeral ensures the legal, reverent and dignified burial or cremation of the person who has died.
The funeral director’s role is to make all the relevant arrangements prior to conducting the funeral on the day.
The funeral director will liaise with the minister or celebrant to ensure that any of the family’s special requests such as music, flowers, photo’s or audiovisual tributes are met.
The minister or celebrant is ultimately responsible for what happens in the funeral ceremony itself. This usually involves working with family members to:
– plan the format of the funeral service;
– decide who will deliver the eulogy – family member(s), a close personal friend or the celebrant;
– select music, reading or poetry for during the service;
– decide on the use of other mementos such as flowers and photos as required;
– discuss the content of the printed service sheets; and
– schedule the audiovisual presentation (if any) in the service.