Funerals are a time-honored tradition that helps us to cope with the death of a loved one. They provide a way for us to express our grief, to remember the life of the person who has died, and to receive support from family and friends. Funerals can also be a helpful step in the healing process.
Funeral rituals have been around since the beginning of history. They fulfill our innate need to honor, respect, and remember those who have died. Funerals are not just a ritual, they have a purpose and meaning.
According to Dr. Alan Wolfelt, a respected grief counselor, author, and educator who has done extensive research into the purposes of a funeral, funerals are important because they serve as a public, traditional, and symbolic way of expressing our beliefs, thoughts, and feelings about the death of someone loved. He says that the funeral ritual helps us acknowledge the reality of the death, gives testimony to the life of the deceased, encourages the expression of grief in a way consistent with the culture’s values, provides support to mourners, allows for the embracing of faith and beliefs about life and death, and offers continuity and hope for the living.
Dr. Wolfelt has found that funerals are most meaningful and healing when they meet these 6 purposes. By understanding these purposes, we can see why funerals are so necessary and how they help us in our grief journeys.
Purposes of a Funeral
1. Acknowledge the Reality of Death
A funeral is a ceremony that is held when someone dies. It is a time for the family and friends of the person who died to get together and to say goodbye. At the funeral, people often talk about the person who died and share memories of them. Funerals also provide a time for people to support each other and to start the process of grieving. This is important because grieving is a process that can take a long time and may never end.
2. Affirm the Value of the Person Who Died
Death is something that we will all face eventually. It is a natural part of life, but it can be difficult to deal with. The death of a loved one can be one of the most difficult experiences to go through. A funeral is a way to begin the process of accepting the death and beginning the grieving process. It is a time to remember the life of the person who has died and to celebrate their life. Funerals are also a time for people to start making decisions about the funeral and memorial service. This is important because it can help people to make decisions about how they want to remember the person who died.
3. Express feeling of sadness, anger, and love
When a loved one dies, it can be difficult to know how to express our feelings. We may feel sad, angry, or even numb. A funeral is a way to express our emotions and to say goodbye to the person we have lost. It is also a time to remember the good times we shared with them. Funerals can be held in a variety of ways, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. The important thing is that we take the time to express our love and grief in a way that is meaningful to us.
4. Opportunity to share memories
When someone we love dies, it can be difficult to know what to do or say. We might feel like we’re in a fog, and our world has been turned upside down. Funerals give us the opportunity to share our memories of the person who died, and to support one another as we grieve. They can also be a time to celebrate the life of the person who has died.
5. Support of others
When we lose someone we love, it can be difficult to cope with our grief. We may feel isolated and alone in our sadness. Funerals can be a great way to find comfort in the support of others. They provide an opportunity to share our memories of the person we have lost and to receive support from those who care about us.
6. Assist in the Transition of the Grief Journey
The funeral is an important part of the grieving process. It is a time to say goodbye to the person who died and to begin the process of adjusting to life without them. Funerals also provide support for the people who are left behind. They offer a chance to share memories, to express emotions, and to receive comfort from others.
The funeral experience is an opportunity for transformation. It is a chance to develop a new identity, a new relationship with our lost loved one, and a new relationship with our community. The funeral experience is a rite of passage that can leave us changed for the better.