Planning a meaningful funeral for a loved one is a ritual that almost all of us will encounter at some point in our lives. As you consider the various aspects of a funeral where burial is the final disposition, there are several elements that you can and will need to select in order to create a touching tribute for your loved one. These things will also provide comfort to those who are living as you pay your final respects.
The Burial Committal Service
When burial is chosen, the graveside ceremony is the final opportunity to say goodbye. Accompanying a body to its final resting place and saying a few last words brings a necessary feeling of closure to the funeral process. Families are often deeply touched by this ceremony, and its memory resonates for years. A meaningful committal service not only helps us acknowledge the reality and finality of the death, it also symbolizes the separation that the death has created. It is an essential ingredient of a meaningful funeral experience.
A direct burial is when there is no funeral service, but instead simply final disposition of the body by the funeral home.
A word from Dr. Alan Wolfelt
If you are considering direct burial, I plead with you to reconsider. Honoring the life and death of the person who died with some sort of ceremony - no matter how brief, how small or how informal - will help your family acknowledge the reality of the death and begin to heal. When no ceremony is held, it is as if the life and death of the person who died had no significance to anyone. Also keep in mind that you may still hold a committal service at the gravesite should you choose direct burial.
Think carefully about the many options available to you and your family. Slow down and plan. It is through planning that a meaningful funeral experience is created. And do remember that funeral directors, clergy, celebrants and close friends who have done these things before can all be valuable resources to you. You are not alone!
Print and share this planning guide with family, friends and your funeral director as you finalize your plans