Funerals and memorials allow relatives and friends to pay their respects to the person who has died. It’s a way of acknowledging their death and saying goodbye.
You can make all the arrangements for the funeral and burial yourself if you’d like to. However, most people prefer to have the help of the funeral director. The GP will need to know if you’re planning a cremation so they can complete the relevant paperwork.
Before making any funeral arrangements, it’s important to consider several issues:
- What were the wishes of the dead person?
- Have they expressed their wishes in a will?
- What are your wishes?
- How will the funeral be paid for? Is there a pre-paid funeral plan?
Some people have no strong religious beliefs, while others have a strong religious or spiritual faith or may have lived their lives as humanists, agnostics or atheists. You may have very clear ideas about how you want to pay your respects to the person’s body and how you want the service to be dealt with. Remember, you don’t need to have a religious leader to conduct a funeral or memorial service.
If you’re unsure what to do or didn’t have a chance to discuss this with your loved one, you can get ideas from books or the internet. An undertaker can also guide you through issuing the death notices and planning the funeral service. You can also get information from the registrar.
People who have a spiritual or religious faith often have a clear idea of who they want to conduct the funeral and where they want the funeral or memorial service to take place. A funeral, religious or spiritual service can be held wherever you like, for example, in the person’s home or their favourite place. Services are often held in the church where the body will be buried or in the chapel next to a crematorium, but they can be held in other places if you prefer.
After the memorial service, the person’s body is cremated or buried.
This takes place in a designated crematorium. The ashes of the person are given in a container to the next of kin. You and your loved one may have discussed what they wanted done with their ashes. You can carry out these wishes when you’re ready.
A burial is usually in a churchyard or other designated burial place. It’s also possible for people to be buried in other places, such as a garden. If you want to bury someone on a property that you own or in a place that they loved, you can get information from The Natural Death Centre.
If you and your relative or friend didn’t have the chance to discuss their choice of burial or cremation, and there’s a will, it’s important to consult the executor to see if the will contains this information. If you discussed plans for the funeral before their death, this makes it easier to be sure you’re arranging a service of remembrance that reflects the person’s wishes. Some people also have strong views on the clothes they want to be buried or cremated in.