Part of the grieving process

The Ontario Funeral Service Association wants us to plan our funerals, and they offer some pretty good reasons for doing so. The group has recently launched a public awareness campaign in response to what it calls a ” ten-year trend away from funerals, as people perceive them to be either too expensive or too much bother.” The campaign emphasizes the importance of a meaningful funeral, stressing how funerals help in the grieving process.

“A funeral provides the opportunity for last goodbyes and receiving support from caring friends,” says grief expert John D. Morgan, PhD, of King’s College in London, Ontario. “Therefore, it is absolutely essential to resolve grief. Without a funeral, the grief process may be delayed, prolonged, or unnecessarily severe.”

The funeral association points out that funerals provide a time to celebrate the life and accomplishments of the deceased, as well as to share stories, laugh, cry and mourn together. Funerals are also changing with the times, and becoming, well, less funereal.

“There are limitless options for funerals, as people opt for more personalized tributes,” says the association’s Kirk Elliot. “These have included contemporary mus like James Taylor and the Beatles, instead of the classics or traditional hymns. Families can have a close relative or friend conduct the service or say a eulogy. Many place photographs or memory boards of their loved one at the funeral.”

All in all, a healthier attitude toward a subject we all like to avoid. Of course, the funeral industry wants us all to plan in advance. It does make sense, even if all we plan is the kind of funeral we’d like to have.