Depending on your culture, religion and other beliefs, a funeral may mean many things.
For many cultures, a funeral simply signifies the end of life on earth and the body we inhabit. After a funeral, the personal journey of the deceased continues as they move into the afterlife, reincarnation, paradise or heaven. The ceremony is an opportunity to remember, to mourn, to celebrate and to help your loved one on their journey.
For those who don’t believe in the afterlife, a funeral is still a time to take pause, to remember and to celebrate. The ceremony provides an opportunity for the recognition of a life well lived. The work of individuals throughout our communities is extraordinary, both the magnanimous and the minute. For many people, this recognition is more important than any religious or cultural aspect.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that funerals are there for the living, both to help us to celebrate and memorialise a loved one, and to help us through our grief. Let’s explore this concept further.
The 5 Stages of Loss and Grief
The grief that we experience when we lose a loved one will undoubtedly be a highly personal journey. There are no simple steps to follow, no right or wrong ways to grieve and no definitive answers to why we grieve, how we should grieve, or how long we should be in mourning.
What the 5 stages of grief do provide is some further information on the near universal stages of mourning that you will probably experience in some form.
The 5 stages are:
- Denial and isolation
Funeral ceremonies have been performed in some way or another since the start of recorded history. These ceremonies provide rituals, symbols and shared experiences that come in the form of religion, emotion, philosophy, culture and more.
These experiences often help to bring people together, teaching us to accept, to celebrate and to say farewell. By uniting people together, funerals also provide an invaluable support system that we can all lean on is some form.
Dr Wolfelt’s Hierarchy of the Purpose of Funerals
Dr Alan Wolfelt is an author and grief counsellor who teaches us more about the purpose of funerals.
Dr Wolfelt’s Hierarchy of the Purpose of Funerals outlines six essential purposes of a funeral. In many ways, these steps echo the importance of a funeral for grief and promote the ceremony as a form of healing, celebration and progression.
These six steps are:
- Transcendence – helping us to accept the wonder of life and death
- Meaning – recognising the life that was lived and providing new purpose for the living
- Expression – an opportunity to articulate our feelings on life, death and the deceased
- Support – as already mentioned, the symbols and rituals of funerals unite people
- Recall – sharing memories of the deceased that create hope for the future
- Reality – acknowledgement or acceptance that someone in our life has died
Taking the Next Steps
When you’re ready, take the time to reflect back on the 5 stages of grief, Dr Wolfelt’s 6 purposes of a funeral and our wider conversation. We believe that you will find the importance and even the beauty of the funeral ceremony.
A funeral is about helping us to mourn, it is about bringing us together, and it is about a celebration of a life. Of course, a funeral will mean many other things to you too, depending on your culture, your religion, your traditions and your own experiences. All of these are valid, important and beautiful.
If you need an affordable funeral in Brisbane or Gold Coast, Cremations Only can provide cheap funeral options and low cost caskets in various designs. Take the next step in the confidence that you can celebrate and remember a life, regardless of your budget. Call us on 1300 311 747 to discuss or email us.