How to Plan a Celebration of Life If No Instructions Were Given

By: Tom Gallagher
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Losing a loved one unexpectedly is a shock. Each person experiences grief differently, which makes making funeral or remembrance ceremonies stressful. If no instructions for a funeral or celebration of life ceremony were given, the task falls on the family to plan something that will provide closure while honoring the wishes of the person who has passed away. 

A celebration of life is a gathering that essentially celebrates and remembers the life lived by the person who has passed away. It gives family and friends the opportunity to contribute to a memorial while also facilitating healing by talking and remembering the person as they were when they were alive. 

When planning these types of ceremonies, it’s important to factor in several steps that will make the ceremony impactful and therapeutic for grievers while also honoring the essence of the person whose life is being celebrated. Some important steps to consider include:

Acknowledge the Hobbies and Interests

If you loved one was a fishing enthusiast or if she loved to knit and crochet, it’s a good idea to include these aspects in the celebration. A board with photos of their fishing successes or asking grievers to bring something the person has knitted for them are all acceptable ways to honor their hobbies and interests. Memory tables and memory boards are an effective way to comfort grievers while reminding them of the wonderful memories they held with the deceased. 

Encourage Participation

Many celebrations of life ceremonies are officiated by a celebrant. These officials act as a master of ceremonies for the event and will help facilitate the celebration. This doesn’t mean that the only person allowed to talk and contribute is the celebrant. Many celebrations of life ceremonies involve a lot of participation from the deceased’s loved ones and family members. Encourage guests to share stories, readings or write letters to express themselves. 

Something to Take Away

Saying goodbye is hard. A celebration of life is different from a funeral in the sense that it should have a happy tone and focus on celebrating the life and achievements of the person who has passed away. Providing something for grievers to take away from the service is a great way for them to remember the positive impact that the person had on their lives. Items to give at a celebration of life can range from dried flowers from the service, or something personal like a recipe from the person who has passed away. 

Are you doing it Right?

One of the most wonderful aspects of a celebration of life is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. As long as your family and loved ones are able to gather and remember the love and respect they had for the deceased, you have got it right. 
For more information on planning a celebration of life ceremony, talk to the experts at Thomas M. Gallagher Funeral Home in Stamford, CT.

Call (203) 359-9999 to speak with someone today.


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