Dr Alan Wolfelt (a grief counseller in the United States) talks of giving freedom for people to create meaningful funerals to them, giving permission for people to make their own decisions to meet their own and families needs.

Funerals provide family and friends with the support of caring people (each other). Everyone has the right to a funeral that is meaningful to them. The majority of us are used to the traditional funeral, but you do have the right to create your own ceremony, one that reflects the distinct personality of your loved one and yourself. Never be afraid to create a funeral unique to your family. This can be done by adding special touches that are personal to you. Memories are one of the most important things we have left after a person dies so why not consider using a photo board to display a lifetime of photos or even a display of handiwork, or a fishing rod and tackle. The possibilities are endless.

Everyone is unique and has an impact on people even if only a little. Do not be afraid to ask others to contribute to the service; they could contribute words to a eulogy or even do a reading.

The viewing of the body is not for everyone, but there are several benefits to this. It helps us towards accepting the reality of our loved ones death and provides a further chance to say goodbye. Do not suppress your grief, as painful as it is, remember its okay to cry. Make sure you are kind to yourself and rest if you need, try to eat properly. Don’t be impatient with yourself, you never get over losing a loved one and it takes time to work through your grief until it reaches a bearable level. You will have good days and bad and slowly the good days will increase and the bad days will get fewer and far between. This won’t happen immediately and just when you think things are becoming better something may come up and you’ll have another bad day. Accept this, don’t fight it and as mentioned before be kind to yourself.

After A list of Ten Freedoms for Creating Meaningful Funerals, by Dr Alan D Wolfelt

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