Why Is The Funeral Ritual Important?

Funerals can be a beautiful and meaningful way to send off a loved one while easing initial feelings of grief.
Why Is The Funeral Ritual Important?

Humans love rituals. They help us connect to ourselves and the people around us, and they provide us with familiar structures that assist us in moving forward when things feel tough, or when things simply feel mundane. It’s why so many of us love the ritual of a morning walk or coffee, or a Saturday night in every second week. They make us feel like us, and they ground us when we need it most.

Just like a birthday celebration, an engagement party or even a quick spring clean once a year, a funeral is a ritual that brings meaning to the death of a loved one. It symbolises their passing and provides family and friends with the space and permission to grieve and say goodbye to their cherished person.

With the loss of a loved one comes the need to mourn and acknowledge loss. Without the ritual of a funeral, we might find we never truly face our feelings about their death, ultimately hindering the grieving process and hindering us from moving forward.

The Six Needs of Mourning

Did you know there are six important steps worth fulfilling (or trying to fulfil) when you’re mourning the death of a loved one? Let’s dive into each one of them, noting how a funeral assists in satisfying each need.

1. Acknowledging the death of a loved one

The first stage of grief is denial, so acknowledging the fact that your loved one has passed away is a productive first step in allowing yourself to grieve your loss. While it can be hard to believe they’re gone, openly acknowledging your new reality and the finality of their death can ultimately help you move forward (although it can take quite a while to actually feel like you’re ready to move forward after their death).

When someone tells you your loved one has passed away, choosing to sit, listen and really hear what they’re saying will help you acknowledge the death has occurred. And then, making calls to other friends and family members to share the news, or arranging the funeral with the funeral home, will also assist in helping you confront their death.

2. Experience the physical and emotional pain of loss

It’s normal and healthy to want (and need) to express your grief through words, or through tears. Allowing yourself to cry – and to talk about your pain and sadness – is a helpful way to process the death of a loved one.

Organising a funeral and saying a eulogy can be a helpful way to face your grief head-on, while also providing yourself with an opportunity to share how you feel with the deceased’s other loved ones. It can be hard to find the ‘perfect moment’ to talk about your grief if a formal memorial service or funeral hasn’t been planned, so a funeral is a really great way to ensure you’re giving yourself the space to grieve and express emotions.

3. Reminisce and share memories

Turning your relationship with the deceased from one that’s physical to one that now lives in your memories can be challenging and confronting. However, a funeral can be a comforting way to commence this shift, allowing you to speak about the deceased in past tense, sharing memories and stories with other funeral goers and reaffirming your relationship with the deceased while they were still here.

4. Find your new normal

When you lose a loved one, you can feel as though you’ve lost a part of yourself. Finding new ways to be you, without them, can be a tough but important part of the grieving process. They might no longer be around for your Sunday morning walk, and your drive home from work might be lonelier without them on the phone, so it’s important to find new ways to enjoy these rituals without them there.

A funeral can provide grieving family members and friends with a way to connect to others around them who, too, might struggle to return to ‘normal life’ without the deceased. Sharing memories, talking about potential future struggles and being there for one another can help support those who are grieving, ensuring they don’t feel so alone and know that they’re all in this together.

5. Discover new meaning and a new zest for life

Have you ever found yourself questioning things when someone dies? Maybe you find yourself wondering about the meaning of life, why bad things happen to good people, why your loved one had to pass away so soon. Having a funeral to organise or attend reinforces that life can be short, and that we must do everything we can to enjoy every day we have on this earth with our loved ones.

6. Receive ongoing support from others

Without a funeral, we don’t really have a time or place for people to show us they care about us. Sure, our friends and family can call us and check in, and people can drop off food and care packages in the weeks after your loved one’s death. However, a funeral can be a wholesome and extremely meaningful way to invite others to share their condolences and show their support, making us feel a lot less alone in our grief.

Receiving support from others during life’s toughest moments can help us grieve and provide us with happiness and comfort when we need it most.

Wrap up

We get it, organising a funeral can be hard. It’s tough to acknowledge your grief, to write (and say) a eulogy in front of a big group of people when you’re feeling sad, and to have to socialise with people you know well (and also might not know at all) at a time when you’re likely struggling. However, the benefits of hosting a funeral definitely outweigh the cons, providing you with helpful tools and resources to grieve and find solace and comfort in others.

Have specific wishes you’d like your loved ones to fulfil after you pass? Maybe you have specific funeral requirements you’d like fulfilled?  Prepay for your funeral and detail all your wishes in your Will with Willed.

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