The funeral service profession is a long-standing one, replete with tradition and cultural customs—but that doesn’t mean every service your funeral home offers to the families in your community has to be the same. In fact, people are saying more and more that they hope their own funeral services and those honoring their loved ones show a little creativity, originality and character representative of the life lived.
As spring springs and brings about warmer weather, longer days full of sunshine and, for many of us, a renewed vigor for our passions and professions, your funeral home can take advantage of this period of renewal. While the cold winter months likely kept your services confined indoors, look ahead to the opportunities awaiting for unique, personalized funeral and memorial services held beyond your usual walls.
A recent funeralOne survey found that cremation is becoming a popular choice versus a traditional burial, largely because families appreciate the opportunity to scatter their loved ones’ ashes in a meaningful and significant manner. Take a look at some additional options for taking the funeral service outside the funeral home, and how doing so can help families honor loved ones in fresh and unique ways.
1. Take ‘em out to the ball game.
Many people use their favorite sports teams as a major personal identifier. They buy season tickets, deck themselves out in fan gear for every game, develop personal rituals on their team’s hot streak and revolve their schedules around favored gameday traditions. For families who’ve lost a loved one of this superfan sort, gamedays can become difficult and painful reminders. But with a customized funeral or memorial service, you can spin that potentially dreaded Sunday kick-off or first pitch into a moment to remember.
Work with the family to learn about their loved one’s team and game day traditions, and consider how you can include those rituals in a service. Perhaps a parking lot tailgate—complete with foam fingers, ice cold drinks and hot dogs on the grill—is the best way to honor a superfan, and help his or her loved ones feel a deeper, positive connection for seasons to come.
2. A casual get-together among friends and family.
You know the type: On their birthday, they did all the cooking, baking or grilling anyway—just to be surrounded by family and friends in the comforts of home was birthday gift enough. They never took a day off feeding their loved ones comfort food and favorite family recipes. Usual accessories included a stained apron and spatula.
For folks who always enjoyed the casual comfort of home and lived on the smiling, food-stuffed faces of their families, consider a backyard barbecue or picnic as the setting for a memorial service. Loved ones can raise a glass (or a soda can) in a celebratory toast, while the tradition of helming the grill or stove is passed along to the next family cook. Food has such a powerful way of building relationships, holding memories and representing the people we love, so why not help a family begin a new tradition with a heartfelt nod to the past.
3. A final thrill.
Friends and family of an adventure-seeking adrenaline junkie would probably agree: No state is less natural to see their loved one in than still, quiet and peaceful. On your best day as a funeral director, of course you hope to offer families meaningful services that properly and purposefully represent the life lived. Particularly for families who opt for cremation, a day out on the water or otherwise seeking adventure might be the most appropriate way to say goodbye.
Consider an ash-scattering ceremony over the water, complete with speed-boating, water-skiing, lazy tubing, or deep-sea diving. Or stay on dry land but let guests share remembrances between casts of the fishing poles or jumps off a rope swing. The activity doesn’t so much matter as does the fact that you’re offering a unique and totally personal service for a unique and much-loved person.
4. An open-mic send-off.
Traditional funerals generally feature a eulogy by a loved one. But what if everyone who had a lovely story, happy memory or hilarious anecdote to tell about their loved one got to share their piece with guests in attendance at a funeral service? With a larger outdoor location—think a park or garden beloved by the person in life—and a more informal setting to say goodbye, each guest can stand up and speak for a few moments about the life that so meaningfully touched theirs. And as an added benefit for guests, this memory sharing can help initiate the healing process and provide added support and comfort in the difficult weeks ahead.
These options are just a few ways you can add customization and personalization to funeral services this spring and summer. Utilize the great outdoors and nice weather to your advantage to set your firm apart as one willing to think—and deliver—outside the box.