The answer may be easier to understand after you think about the following statement:
A funeral is for the living, not the dead.
Regardless of religious beliefs, death does mark the end of life as we know it. There is nothing we can do for the dead, but there is much we can do for those left behind.
If we could read the minds of those who pay their last respects at a funeral, we would hear many things - messages, apologies, requests for forgiveness, and expressions of heartfelt emotions. A funeral gives opportunities to express these things and make peace with the memory of the deceased.
It is a time for family and community to reaffirm the value of their own lives by honoring the loss of another. It is the time and place for the living to come to grips with grief, so that, when it's over, their lives may be more productive and fulfilling. Funerals are an important part of the healing process after someone we love.
The funeral ritual is organized to help accomplish each of the elements.
THE VISITATION - Sometimes called "the wake", spending time with the deceased is a time for family and friends to see your loved one for the last time and truly begin to come to terms with reality of death. The casket can be opened or closed, and visitation is a personal and cultural choice.
THE TRIBUTE - Sometimes called "the reflection", "eulogy", or "remembrance", the tribute is part of the funeral ceremony and is a personal reflection from one or several people on the life of your loved one passed. The tribute may be delivered in our chapel, in a place of worship, or in an environment chosen by you.
THE PROCESSION - Sometimes called "the motorcade", the procession is the orderly transportation of your loved one to their final resting place. A symbol of mutual support and public honoring of the death, it is led by the deceased in the funeral coach and is followed by family and friends.
THE COMMITTAL - Sometimes called "interment" or "entombment", or "scattering ceremony", the committal brings finality to the funeral ritual as family and friends offer their final private thoughts to your loved one.
THE GATHERING - Sometimes called "the celebration" or "the reception", the reception is an informal time for family to say thank you to friends who shared in the funeral ritual. It can take place anywhere the family chooses and is a time to offer condolence and mutual support and to begin the transition of life after death.
BURIAL OR CREMATION?
Choosing the method of care for your loved one after death is a personal decision, and in some cases, a religious or cultural one. Whatever your preference, we encourage you to consider including each of the elements in the funeral ritual as they are an integral part of the healing process from moving from life before death to life after death.