When our loved one passes on, we generally have either a funeral service or a memorial service. This depends on a number of things. Regardless of which we choose to have, there is usually someone to lead the service. Usually a clergyman is chosen. I have nothing against a person of the cloth, but I think it is wrong to use a persons’ death to ‘sell a seat in heaven’.
I suppose some will stop reading here, or will be angry about what I’ve just said. So be it. This is what I think the funeral is really about and how it should be.
The services are for the living, in order to let go of the deceased and move on in their life, to accept the fact that the person is no longer physically with them. This is very often a hard thing to face and accept. It would be much easier if the funeral or memorial service is about both the living and the dead.
Here is how I would like my service to be. I know that we are somewhat scattered geographically, and therefore it needs to be a memorial service at a date that is convenient to all. If you can come, great, otherwise it is still ok. You can still share memories wherever you are. Light candles, play music that I like and share memories of me and our interaction together. I will have cremated by then, so take your time and enjoy the occasion.
Don’t fight and argue like many families do. Don’t have a preacher or other clergyman there preaching to you about Jesus. Jesus is important, as is other things in life. Don’t use my death to convince people to ‘come to God’. It is friends and families sharing memories and even enjoying food and drink. It’s not a wake, it is a service, but it is taking care of the needs of all involved.
I’ve read that the deceased will often come to the service to say ‘goodbye’ to the family and friends as well as to see what type of service is being given. Perhaps this is true. It’s a nice thought whether it is true or not. I believe the deceased is dead in the flesh only and that the spirit lives on, so it is possible. I know that people will often linger, even when suffering, because they don’t want to hurt loved ones. If the loved ones would just tell the person that they love them and don’t want them to suffer and that it’s ok to go on, then it would be easier on everyone involved. Yes, we miss them, but they are at peace and not suffering. We have our memories. We can still talk to them. If we listen, we might even ‘hear’ them answer us.
It is respectful to follow the wishes of the deceased, even if they are no longer living. It is the last thing you will be doing in their physical presence. Therefore, burning a few candles, sharing memories, playing music, sharing food and drink is not too much to ask. Leave religion and sermons out of it. If you wish to discuss my religious beliefs, do so with respect, and not with the intent of trying to point out that I’m ‘going to hell’. You aren’t the Creator, and as such, you don’t have the right to make that decision or to decide my fate or destiny. Religion is a personal journey.
For those of you who like to have sermons preached over you rather than making this a time of good memories for all involved, I wish you the best. But as for me and mine, I like to think they will do as I have requested.