When a loved one passes away, you may feel lost and unsure how to navigate your grief. It may feel overwhelming to think about planning a funeral or memorial service. In the midst of this emotional time, it can be hard to know what exactly is expected of you as the host of a celebration of life.
When someone close to you passes away, the last thing you want to think about is planning a memorial service. But putting together a fitting tribute for your loved one will help you and those around you begin to heal from the loss.
What is a Celebration of Life?
A celebration of life is a type of funeral or memorial service that seeks to highlight the life that has been lived, rather than focus on the death itself. Instead of mourning and somberness, these types of services celebrate the achievements and memories of a loved one’s life. The loss is still acknowledged, but it’s not the main focus. In fact, some people have chosen to have their own celebrations of life before they’ve passed away.
For many, funerals and memorial celebrations are an important part of the grieving process and allow people to say goodbye to their loved ones.
In this article, we’ll go over some ideas for how you can celebrate your loved one’s life through a memorial.
- Create a slideshow for the funeral or memorial service
Photos can be a great way to tell the story of someone’s life. You can put together a slideshow that includes pictures of your loved one at different stages in their life, along with music that captures their personality or that they enjoyed listening to.
- Share memories at the memorial service
At the memorial service or funeral, you can invite guests to share some memories they have of your loved one. You could also ask people to bring something small (like photos, mementos or letters) that they would like to donate to create a collage or memory board at the memorial. If there is not enough time during the service for everyone to share their favourite memory or story, you could start up a Facebook group where people can share more stories about your loved one
- Have a celebration at home
While your home may not be large enough for all your friends and family to gather comfortably, consider inviting just a few close friends and family members over for an intimate memorial celebration. This could include sharing stories about the deceased and displaying pictures of them throughout their life.*
- Visit a special place
If there was somewhere your loved one enjoyed visiting, consider taking a trip there with a friend or family member who also misses them.*
- Write down memories and stories
It can be helpful to write down your memories and favourite stories about your loved ones so that you always remember them when they’re gone.*
- Make something special
You could make something like an image collage or scrapbook that brings back good memories.
Where to Host a Celebration of Life Memorial Service?
A celebration of life memorial service can take place at any venue that was meaningful or significant to the deceased person — their home, their favourite restaurant or another gathering place, etc. These services typically last for about two hours and usually don’t follow any strict format or schedule.
A memorial service is more than just a funeral. It’s an important step in the grief and healing process for those who knew the deceased. Family and friends need time and space to grieve and heal together. A memorial service provides them with both.
The best way to plan a memorial service is by planning it around how the deceased would want to be remembered. You might find tips by talking with his or her friends or spouse, reading through letters or journals, or even asking yourself what he or she would want.
You should just know that there are no wrong options and you should go ahead with whatever you feel is the best.