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The Funeral Ritual


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Funerals are an important part of the healing process after someone we love has passed on:

  • They help us to come to terms with the reality of death;
  • They are a time to remember;
  • They are a time for community an mutual support;
  • They are a time to say goodbye;
  • They are a time of transition from life before death to life after death.

The funeral ritual is organized to help accomplish each of the elements above:

  • 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 the reality of death.  The casket can be open or closed, and visitation is a personal and cultural choice.
  • The Tribute - Sometimes called “the reflection” or “eulogy”, or “remembrance”, the tribute is part of the funeral ceremony and is a personal reflection from one or several people on the lift 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 “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.


*Adapted from the writings of Dr. Alan Wolfelt, Director, Center for Loss and Lift Transition, fort Collins, Colorado.  Dr. Wolfelt is one of North America’s most respected grief educators and is the author of many books including, “Creating Meaningful Funeral Ceremonies: A Guide for Families”.

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