Funeral Success is the designer of the Loving Farewell™, a new style of service that blends family traditions with innovative elements to create a unique memorial event that your family and friends will cherish.
The 7 Elements of a Loving Farewell™
1. Balances their wishes with the needs of family & friends
It is common today for people to say things like “bury me out back” or “don’t make a fuss” when it comes to discussing what to do when they pass. This makes a lot of sense when you consider that, when living, very few people like to throw a party for themselves. Most people don’t want to be the center of attention and they certainly don’t want to be a burden to anyone else. At the same time, when a loved one passes the surviving family and friends have certain emotional needs which must be met. For example, there is a basic human need to come together and support each other as we mourn the loss. Psychologists tell us that ignoring our basic needs at this time only prolongs the grief, sometimes stretching it out for years or more.
A Loving Farewell™ strives to find the balance between the wishes of the deceased. It is important to honor their wishes and it is also important to recognize and meet the needs of the family and friends who mourn the loss. At our funeral homes, we work hard to find that balance for your family.
Believe it or not, it is possible to have a Loving Farewell and “don’t make a fuss”. And depending upon your local zoning laws it may even be possible to have a Loving Farewell and still “bury me out back”.
2. A Loving Farewell tells the story of their life
Mourning the loss of a loved one is always painful. Unfortunately too many funeral homes are still using an old style of service that focuses on the body and the casket. In this situation the people attending a visitation focus on two things; how the deceased person looks and how the family is dealing with the loss.
However it is possible to design a different style of service that is far less painful and awkward and actually allows your family to begin the process of healing their emotional wounds.
In a Loving Farewell ™, we have shifted the focus off of how they died onto how they lived. It helps you to mourn and puts the focus on your loved one’s life where it should be. Mourning is all about processing memories. Focusing on the stories of their life helps you do that.
In a very true sense, a Loving Farewell…is a reunion. It is a time to share the stories and warm memories. We laugh, we cry, we make plans to get together and we remember the stories. The memorial event unites family and friends, as we celebrate the life of our loved one.
You might be wondering how we shift the focus onto the stories of their life. At our funeral homes we accomplish this by encouraging families to bring in anything that reminds them of their loved one. This could consist of pictures, music, home movies, hobby items, or any form of memorabilia. We then arrange the items throughout our facility to provide you with a number of stations, each representing a different aspect of your loved ones’ life. This creates a memorial event that focus attention on the life they lived rather than on the way they died.
Families tell us that they appreciate how much easier it is for them versus funerals they have experienced at other funeral homes. We take this feedback to heart and work hard every day to help families tell their stories in tasteful and beautiful ways.
3. A Loving Farewell is memorable in a unique & uplifting way
Have you ever been to a funeral home that conducts the exact same style of service for every family they serve? It’s almost as if they operate like a fast food restaurant, delivering the same happy meal to patrons over and over again. At our funeral homes we don’t operate that way. In fact, we believe that approach is very disrespectful to the deceased. A cookie-cutter funeral may be efficient but it certainly isn’t loving.
No two lives are identical, therefore no two memorial events should be identical. The very fact that we focus on telling the story of their life will make the event unique to your loved one. However, our farewell event planners are also trained to seek out special ways that we can make your Loving Farewell truly unique.
For example, with our help one family recreated their Grandmother’s favorite corner, complete with her recliner, table, lamp and crossword puzzles. Another family chose to use a motorcycle hearse to carry their loved one to his final resting place. When it comes to creative ways to honor your loved one, the possibilities are endless.
People are used to thinking of funerals and memorials as very sad events. It is true that the loss of a loved one is always sad and tears are a necessary part of the grieving process.
A Loving Farewell is unique because it always includes an element that provides an uplifting experience for your family and friends. Your loved ones’ life wasn’t always sad, in fact they probably enjoyed a good laugh as much as anyone else. It only makes sense that after the tear are shed and the stories are told, we find a way to celebrate their life in a uplifting way.
It could be as simple or as elaborate as you like. Don’t worry, you won’t have to come up with the idea yourself. Our farewell event planners are experienced at providing families with plenty of ideas and to facilitate a special ending for your loved one.
To make things extra easy for the families we serve, we have prearranged three Loving Farewell packages to add a unique touch to your send off. These are only intended as easy starting points and will always be tailored to meet the needs of your family.
There is the Loving Farewell Toast where we take your family and friends to one of three different nearby wineries for a relaxing evening including one last toast and a balloon release at sunset. There is the Loving Farewell Golf Outing, where everyone is invited to play a round of golf at a local golf course and have a memorial gathering at the country club. And there’s the Loving Farewell Fiesta, were we conclude our memorial service with a family friendly fiesta at the 4 acre private park adjoining our funeral home.
4. Includes private time for the immediate family
The loss of a loved one is always hardest on the immediate family. Some people say that when they first heard of the death they actually experience some physical pain. They have a shortness of breath, their heart will race, and tears are not far behind.
Over the next few hours and days, the family is faced with having to make the inevitable phone calls, spreading the word that a family member has passed. Everyone will ask you the same question…”when is the service?”. Ironically people are not necessarily interested in the day and time of a formal service. What they are really asking is…”when are we gathering together?”.
It is basic to our human nature that at a time of loss the immediate family will want to gather together to support each other. At the same time the extended family, friends and community come alongside the family to offer condolences and provide additional support.
Many family members find this to be a difficult time emotionally. To ease the is burden, a Loving Farewell always includes a private time for the immediate family to visit with their loved one, shed their tears, remember the good times, and prepare themselves to meet with the friends, neighbors and coworkers who show their support by coming to your memorial event.
Many people are surprised to learn that 65% of the people who come to a memorial event didn’t know the deceased directly. They knew a family member and are there to support that person as they journey through grief.
5. Active participation of family members
At some funeral homes, memorial services have become a very passive activity for families. Someone else cares for the deceased, someone else chooses the music, someone else arranges the room, someone else chooses the pictures, and someone else witnesses the final goodbye. The well-meaning funeral home may think they are making it easier for the family by handling everything but actually they are making it worse.
Throughout time, the loss of a loved one has always resulted in a shared experience that involved the active participation of family, friends and community. Some people cared for the deceased, some prepared for the inevitable gathering and others built the casket and prepared the grave. Regardless of the task, the memorial event always involved people actively doing things for each other.
If you have experienced the loss of a loved one then you know that one of the first things you hear from people is “is there anything I can do?”. The reason is very simple…people want to express their love and support by doing something for you. At the same time, immediate family members often look for ways to become involved and feel isolated when there is nothing for them to do.
That’s why a Loving Farewell always includes the opportunity for family members of all ages to actively participate in the many decisions to be made and tasks to be completed. No one is ever required to participate but they are given the opportunity so that they never feel left out. Children may be given the chance to choose the color of balloons to be released, young adults may be asked to create a video slideshow, seniors may be asked to provide stories from the early years. Everyone will be invited to help select the memorabilia and participate by sharing memories during the service. In this way, a Loving Farewell unites every generation of the family as you come together to honor a life well lived.
In the same way, it is heathy for the family to allow friends and community to support them by actively doing things. For example, some families choose to follow the memorial service with a catered meal. But a better way is to allow friends to organize a pot luck and invite people to prepare a meal to be shared. By actively participating in this portion of the experience, friends are able to show their love for the family while the family mourns their loss.
6. Include flexible options for their final resting place
There is a great deal of confusion in the area about a very important part of the memorial experience, the final resting place. Some funeral homes, that are closely affiliated with a particular cemetery, will always influence families to use their cemetery. Others will simply return cremated remains in an urn and suggest that you place it on the mantle at home. Neither funeral home is willing to help the family by providing unbiased advice on this important decision.
There are two important elements of the final resting place; where will the remains be placed and where will the marker be placed. Of the two, most people think that where the remains are to be placed is the more important decision. But actually it’s more important to consider where the marker will be placed.
Whether the body has been buried or cremated you will never see your loved one’s physical body again. However, a marker that bears the name of your loved one and a loving inscription has the power to trigger fond memories of the life you shared together. That’s why it’s so common to see people walking through a cemetery reading the headstones of long lost family and friends. As they read the marker, warm memories return and the relationship is cherished.
Whether that marker is placed in a cemetery or on a memorial bench by the Columbia River really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that the family establish a permanent marker so that they have a place to visit and experience the love whenever they choose.
A Loving Farewell at our funeral homes always includes very flexible options for the final resting place. We take the time to explain the importance to families and then help them choose between the many options available to them around our area.
We often find that families are surprised by some of the options. For example, if your loved one served in the military there are two cemeteries in the state that will provide a free burial with honor guard. At our funeral homes, we believe that making families aware of free or low cost options is the right thing to do.
7. A Loving Farewell is easy for the family
The final element of a Loving Farewell is that it absolutely must be easy for the family. At a time like this key family members are always overwhelmed. There are dozens of decisions to be made, family members may be coming in from out of town, flowers to be arranged and a service of some form needs to be planned.
Contrast the loss of a loved one with two other major life events; births and weddings. For a birth the family has nine months to plan, baby showers can be scheduled months in advance, clothes can be shopped for casually and the house can be prepared. For a wedding you will typically have a whole year to make your preparations. But for a memorial event you will typically only have two or three days to pull together everything. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right funeral home to work with.
At our funeral homes we help families in the area who are faced with the loss of a loved one but aren’t sure what to do next. We are the area’s only provider of the Loving Farewell, a new style of service that blends family traditions with innovative elements to create a unique memorial event that your family and friends will cherish.
When designing a Loving Farewell for your family we begin with a base game plan that we have fine tuned to perfection. We then personalize that plan to celebrate the life of your loved one and reflect your family’s unique traditions, beliefs, and values.
Once the plan for your event is in place we will provide you with a list of specific tasks that you will need to work on. Sometimes families jokingly refer to this as their homework but they always appreciate that we know how to anticipate and plan for every detail.
While you are working on your “homework” we are always available via the telephone to answer any questions you may have. We’ll be working very closely with you over the next few days to make sure that all of the details are taken care of and the stage is set for a beautiful event.
The day of the event you can relax knowing that our staff will make sure that everything runs smoothly.
Losing a loved one is always hard… but deciding to have a Loving Farewell at one of our funeral homes is actually the easiest decision you can make at this difficult time.