With the cost of funerals rising, more and more people are opting for direct cremation – which is a cremation without any ceremony. Most funeral homes offer direct cremations these days at a rate considerably reduced (by £000s!) from a traditional funeral.
This is totally understandable, but it is also very important for everyone to have a chance to come together and mourn the passing of someone special and celebrate the life that is gone. Direct cremation doesn’t allow for this, but that doesn’t mean some form of service can’t be held – in fact it makes things more flexible.
Instead of people gathering in a sombre crematorium chapel at a prescribed time, sometimes followed by a wake in a nearby hostelry – to which many don’t go – friends and family can arrange a memorial service or celebration of life at the time and place of their choice. It could be in someone’s home or garden (weather permitting!), a village hall, field, hotel or pub – anywhere that is big enough to cater for the numbers you want.
You don’t need a funeral director although you may like to engage the services of a celebrant to coordinate everything, advise you on content and help deliver the service – usually at a very reasonable rate.
If you want to have music (let’s face it, music usually evokes memories of people in times past, so you almost certainly will want some), you just need to ensure any public venue you choose has a licence to play music (most do).
You might want to ask close family or friends if they’d like to contribute to the service – perhaps by choosing a poem to read or writing down some of their memories of the deceased for them – or the celebrant – to read.
If the venue is suitable, you might want to put together a video of photos or display photos on a board. Perhaps have a pin board where people can write a brief memory of the person who has died – this makes a wonderful keepsake for the family.
You can also choose the day and time you want, rather than being restricted to Monday to Friday 9 to 5 in most crematoria. You might prefer to have an evening service or a Sunday afternoon. It doesn’t have to be immediately after the cremation either – you may choose a date that has meaning, maybe a birthday or anniversary that comes fairly soon after the death. Perhaps plan it round where and when you want to scatter the deceased’s ashes.
There are so many possibilities and this may seem daunting when you’re dealing with your grief, which is where I can help you. For an agreed fee I will meet with you, discuss your options and wishes and make recommendations. I will listen to you talk about the deceased and help you put together a service that reflects that person’s life. I will help you with the arrangements and be there on the day to support you and help you deliver the service – just give me a call or send me an email.