As we emerge from the pandemic, you may be planning a celebration of life ceremony or event.
But what will a post-COVID-19 celebration of life service look like?
Many of us have faced the agonising pain of loss during this last year, made worse by the fact that we haven’t been able to give our loved ones the funeral service that we would have liked. As restrictions start to lift and we start to see light from all the darkness, here are a few thoughts that may help you when you’re thinking about planning a special send-off.
It is likely that your loved one underwent cremation at the time they died which is by far the most popular type of funeral nowadays. This opens up a world of choices for your memorial event; you can bring the ashes along to the celebration of life ceremony or service and they can be a focal point, just as a coffin is at the funeral. There are many urns of all shapes and sizes on the market; some are made from glass, or from pewter or brass, others embellished with colourful enamel. Some are simple cardboard tubes. Some are personalised and highly decorated. Obviously, the prices vary considerably but at least you have an amazing selection.
Celebration of Life Ceremony Venues
When you start thinking about a venue for your celebration, the world is your canvas – it can be anywhere you like; in a much-loved garden, a favourite walk or with a view that holds special memories. Some people like to plan a memorial ceremony decked out with photos and other personal items. Friends and family could be invited to write down a memory or anecdote which the celebrant can then read out to the gathering. The event can be as relaxed as you wish or more formal but it doesn’t have to be time-boundaried in the same way as a conventional funeral service.
Celebration of Life Memory Boards
A photo memory board is a lovely touch, making a personalised and welcoming entrance to your memorial event. It can have one large portrait photo on it or several different ones grouped together and there are three sizes available. You may like to provide labels or postcards and pens and invite guests to write down a special memory or maybe their favourite things about the person who has gone. These can be pinned to the memory board or put into a box or an album as a memory.
More ways to personalise a funeral celebration
You could ask guests to wear your loved one’s favourite colour, or any colour you like. This can bring an upbeat tone to the occasion, making it feel even more like a celebration.
You can still have personalised orders of service filled with photos, memories and poetry which also make lovely keepsakes. This year has seen many people missing out on such a keepsake because they have had to view the ceremony remotely as a result of the pandemic restrictions.
If your loved one was a keen gardener, you could hand out personalised packets of seeds which people can plant in their gardens or in pots to remember them by.
You can choose special pieces of music and poems which can make the occasion even more personal and poignant. You can invite your guests to stand up and share a memory or anecdote to add to the occasion.
Another idea is to have a tree or shrub planted and invite people to the planting ceremony. I recommend the Eternity Tree which is something I promote and sell as an extremely environmentally friendly option. The ashes are added to the Eternity urn which is then planted in the ground or in a container. The special contents of the urn combine with the ashes and the blend breaks down, leaving a rich compost mixture to feed the sapling; literally, a living memorial fed from the ashes.
Almost anything you name can be personalised nowadays so if you have a special idea of your own, just let me know and if it is out there, I will source it for you.
If you are interested in knowing more and exploring some of these ideas and how they could work for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me and lets chat.