3 Ideas for Personalizing a Funeral Service to Honor a Loved One

In This era, personalizing a funeral service is considered a standard rather than a preference. Some families start to recognize and plan for a meaningful

In This era, personalizing a funeral service is considered a standard rather than a preference. Some families start to recognize and plan for a meaningful


In This era, personalizing a funeral service is considered a standard rather than a preference. Some families start to recognize and plan for a meaningful service that helps understand the real meaning of life. That is a crucial part of one’s life as well.

The aspect of remembering them long after they are gone and providing them with a quality service that does them and their lives justice is important in more ways than one.

That is why planning a funeral is not a one-size-fits-all. Each family may want to recognize their loved one’s and their lives in a different way. It makes sense too, as each family is different. They may have different cultures, values, traditions, and practices in how they seek to recognize the death of a loved one. This indicates that traditional funerals are now becoming a distant memory. Currently, there are many ideas for personalizing a funeral service to honor your loved ones.

Easy Personalization Ideas to Honor a Loved One

Nowadays, families see funerals as a performance of crowning consisting of a stage made, which contains props that make it different.

Here are a few compelling ideas and ways to honor a loved one in a more custom and unique way at their funeral service in your area. Recall that these ideas can serve as a starting point and then can transform into other ideas as you figure out what is right for you, your family and your loved ones.

Let us discuss the three main primary ideas below.

1. Designing a Memory Table

When we talk about the essential idea for personalizing funeral service is to create a memory table. One can do a lot of things on a memory table. The memory table can be set as stations that indicate the chapters or passions of the deceased loved one. By designing a memory, a table will always help you to think about your loved ones, and they will always stay alive in your memory!

2. Create a Social Memorial Website for the Deceased Person

To keep the memories alive, we can create a website that can be shared with all the family members of the family. A social memorial website is considered to be an obituary. It can include a Facebook page where anyone can share photo albums, family trees, and memories with the deceased individual anytime from anywhere in the world. This can be done to tribute to the loved ones.

3. Select Meaningful Sympathy Flowers

Flowers are always considered best in any of the events. That is why flowers are given in even funeral service as well. This is an excellent way to customize the ceremony of the deceased loved one. One may select the favorite roses or flowers. One can also pick petals of different colors. You can easily find unique and creative ideas to choose flowers traditionally used to give to loved ones.

This is quite crucial in honoring your loved ones, the right partner can help to make that event even more memorable.

Complete Article HERE!

Coping with death through letters to the dead

The Magenta Horse Last Words altar at Siletz Bay Park awaits letters and offerings from visitors to help them cope with losing a loved one.

By Mathew Brock

Some people may regret not being able to say something to a loved one before they passed, but for the next month, residents and visitors to Lincoln City will have the chance to put those words into one final letter, even if it’s only symbolically.

The Golden Chachkie Last Words altar at sits slightly off the beaten path at Nesika Park.

At parks around Lincoln City, several altars appeared last month as part of the Last Word’s Mailbox Altars Public Art Installation, which gives people who have experienced the death of a loved one a place to grieve and cope by writing them letters.

The project serves another purpose however, as the letters left at the alters will be taken and turned into songs that will be performed at a virtual concert in August and sold as an album to help raise money in support of houseless veterans facing terminal illness through the Do Good Multnomah nonprofit group.

“These art installations are part of an interdisciplinary project that’s really a fundraiser,” said Crystal Akins, founder of Activate Arts and the artist responsible for the project. “I knew I could have done a regular fundraiser, like an event where you get wine and do the whole thing, but instead I wanted to do something that would bring the community together around death using their own grief and loss to transform that into a way to support a person in dying a good death.”

The project has been years in the making and was inspired by Akins’ work as a death doula, someone who helps the dying and their friends and family cope with death.

“It’s a long-term project, and I’ve been working on it for about five years so far,” Akins said. “I’ve been researching houseless death and am a death doula. I’ve been working with a lot of people who live in poverty and seeing how they die. I decided now it’s time to help build a community around death and to help veterans in poverty get access to a good death.”

Akins said the project was also inspired by the Telephone in the Wind art project, which first started in Japan with similar installations popping up in the U.S. and other countries since it debuted in 2011. At these installations, visitors can use a secluded phone booth to symbolically have one final conversation with a deceased loved one as a way to help cope with the loss.

“I saw that and the ways people were connecting with it and wanted to bring something similar here to try that would help bring community together,” Akins said. “Some of the letters I’ve been getting so far have taken the time to thank me for providing this space, and that was the purpose of this, to provide a space for people to experience grief and loss, which is especially important during this pandemic with people facing loss every day.”

The alters themselves were made by Akins using a “found art” art style, which takes discarded and recycled items and repurposes them as a medium for artwork. They’re currently located at Josephine Young Memorial Park, Siletz Bay Park and Nesika Park in Lincoln City until July 1, when Akins will collect and store them.

Those wishing to participate in the project can visit any of the altars and leave a letter, and if they like, a small offering as well, such as a flower, photo or rock. Those writing letters are asked to keep their own privacy in mind and to address letters without specific names, such as “Dear Dad,” “Dear Grandmother,” “Dear sister,” or “Dear Pet Companion.”

Complete Article HERE!

You can’t choose an afterlife.

But you can choose what happens to your body after your life.

Gravestones at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Jan. 2.

There are many options for what happens to your body after your death. But there’s only one real way to give it a long afterlife.

By Adam Larson

Gardeners can be very picky about the kind of compost they use, but this year Washington-based business Recompose has begun making it from a new ingredient: human remains. Intended as an eco-friendly funeral alternative, interested parties should perhaps be forewarned: It takes a couple of months to go from corpse to compost.

But (legally) composting yourself or a recently departed loved one is by no means the only unusual alternative to traditional burial or cremation.

You — or someone’s remains for which you are legally responsible — can now be buried in a suit made of cotton and mushroom spores, intended to make a person’s body into fungus food. (The process also claims to clean heavy metals from the deceased’s remains before they seep into the soil.)

If one is a fan of the ocean, there are companies that will take cremated remains and incorporate them into artificial reefs to act as a home for coral and fish.

The deeper question you might want to ask may be why we care what happens to our dead bodies at all.

If you’d prefer your earthly remains to stay closer to your loved ones (or they would prefer to keep your remains close), your post-cremation ashes can be made into a diamond and worn as jewelry or transformed into a glass paperweight for a bizarre cubicle talking piece.

Conversely, if you’d rather get away from Earth altogether, you could have your ashes shot into space, where they would then orbit the Earth before disintegrating upon future re-entry. If you’d like to really get away, your ashes could be shot out of orbit and into deep space. That is what was done with the remains of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto; his remains came within 8,000 miles of the dwarf planet and are currently over 4 billion miles from Earth.

After hearing the many options of what to do with your body after you’re done using it, you might have some questions. But the deeper question you might want to ask may be why we care what happens to our dead bodies at all.

Part of the issue is that many religions believe what happens to our remains is important. Hindus cremate their dead because they believe their souls will only leave their bodies if forced to leave. Zoroastrians believe that dead bodies are impure and must be disposed of properly. Ancient Egyptians believed their bodies needed to be preserved because they were the vessels that contained their spirits.

If you actually want to make a difference after you’re gone, there are better choices.

But even people who don’t hold beliefs about the importance of the physical body in the afterlife still follow funeral customs. Around the world, most people (even those without a belief in an afterlife) would be weirded out by the prospect of the body of a loved one (or their own body) being unceremoniously tossed into a landfill, which is strange when you think about it. After all, it’s not as if dead people need their bodies for anything: They’re dead.

Clearly, another part of the human adherence to funeral rituals across time and cultures has to do with a desire to be remembered after we are gone and the idea that we now express as some version of “funerals are for the living.” A gravesite can help keep the memory of the deceased alive for their remaining loved ones, give mourners a specific place to commemorate the dead and make them feel closer to the deceased. But if you really think about it absent our cultural norms, even this is a bit odd, because you aren’t actually closer to the person who died at a gravesite.

You’re just closer to their corpse or ashes, and regardless of your personal belief system, you probably actually consider the intangibles of a person — whether you want to call that their heart or their soul or their mind — the essence of what makes them who they are, rather than their physical body.

Yet while we know that, we still have difficulty separating the idea of the mind from the body. Perhaps that’s because we can’t communicate with other humans without interacting with a physical body to some degree. Disrespecting a person’s remains, no matter how little they “are” the person anymore, still feels like disrespecting the person.

Part of the human adherence to funeral rituals across time and cultures has to do with a desire to be remembered after we are gone

So why, then, do some people want their bodies to become compost, coral reefs or mushroom food? A major motivator seems to be concern for the environment. The embalming fluid used to keep remains presentable for typical American funerals is good at preserving dead things but can also make other things die (if, for instance, it’s ingested by underground organisms — though U.S. regulations mandate that caskets be sealed to avoid things inside from leaking outside).

And while cemeteries only cover a tiny fraction of the Earth’s surface, they are often located in cities, where land can be in short supply, and severe water events like floods can cause serious issues for the living, who generally prefer that caskets (and the bodies inside them) stay buried.

Plus, traditional funerals and burials can be prohibitively expensive. Add to that a general decline in people practicing organized religion, and it means that more people in the United States are not restricted by the rules and regulations of faith traditions that might prohibit certain post-death practices.

Cremation, then, is often seen as a more eco-friendly (and much less expensive) alternative to burial, but burning the deceased’s remains releases greenhouse gases and mercury into the atmosphere — although a relatively new form of cremation produces fewer emissions and uses less energy.

After hearing the many options of what to do with your body after you’re done using it, you might have some questions.

So becoming compost — or something similar — seemingly lets your body do some good after you’re gone. The opportunity to help others is the ethos behind the similar, but much older, practice of Tibetan sky burials (though, in a sky burial your body provides sustenance for vultures instead of hydrangeas).

But if you actually want to make a difference after you’re gone, there are better choices than turning your body into compost or vulture food. You can make compost out of human remains or the leftovers you forgot at the back of the refrigerator, but only one of those can save lives when used in a different way.

First and foremost, you can register as an organ donor. You won’t need your kidneys after you shuffle off this mortal coil, but there are more than 80,000 Americans who could use them right now and a single organ donor could potentially save eight lives.

While organ donation generally still leaves people with the option for burial, cremation or composting, there’s another option: donating your remains entirely to science. Donated bodies are used to train the next generation of doctors in medical schools, provide insight into human variation and even reveal how our bodies naturally decay — to help forensic anthropologists identify murder victims and catch their killers. Like organ donation, donating a body to science can save lives.

You might not get the chance to save the lives of others while you’re alive. But you do have the chance to make a simple decision while you’re still with us that can help others live longer after you’re gone.

Complete Article HERE!

What Is Anticipatory Grief And How Does It Work?

By Judy Ho, PH.D., A.B.P.P., A.B.P.d.N.

Anticipatory grief, also referred to as anticipatory loss or preparatory grief, is the distress a person may feel in the days, months or even years before the death of a loved one or other impending loss. “It’s the experience of knowing that a change is coming, and starting to experience bereavement in the face of that,” says Allison Werner-Lin, Ph.D., a licensed clinical social worker and associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice in Philadelphia. Many of us have experienced anticipatory grief without realizing there’s a name for it, she adds.

Some experts say anticipatory grief, when managed with coping techniques, can lessen the pain of post-loss grief. Others argue grief before loss has no effect on grief after loss.

Who Has Anticipatory Grief, and When?

Patients with a terminal illness, as well as their family members, friends and caregivers, often experience anticipatory grief. However, any kind of looming change can bring on anticipatory grief. This is true “even if the change is exciting and anticipated and chosen,” says Werner-Lin. For example, a person who puts in notice at her job may grieve the loss of friendship she expects will happen when she no longer sees her current co-workers every day.

Scenarios that may provoke anticipatory grief include, but are not limited to:

  • Diagnosis or progression of a degenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia or Parkinson’s disease
    In one study conducted in Cork, Ireland, 29 people caring for a family member with Parkinson’s filled out questionnaires to assess their levels of anticipatory grief. Caregivers “were preoccupied with thoughts about…what life could have been if they were never diagnosed,” researchers found.
  • End-of-life care
    Anticipatory grief may affect the caregiver, the patient or both. In one study of family caregivers in Japan, a woman taking care of her husband, a cancer patient who was expected to die within six months, said, “I become anxious thinking about the future even when I am asleep. What should I do? My husband is the firstborn son. His 92-year-old mother is still doing well. He is genuinely firstborn. Everyone in the household relies on the firstborn son, and everything important is left to him. If he dies, everyone will be troubled.”

    • Caring for children with chronic disease
    • Hereditary cancer risk
      Anticipatory grief often surfaces in people who have genetic conditions that elevate their cancer risk, says Werner-Lin, who is also a senior advisor to the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Genetics Branch and studies patients who have Li-Fraumeni Syndrome and BRCA mutations. In these cases, the patient imagines when a cancer diagnosis may come and how it will change their quality of life.
    • Awaiting an organ transplant
      Besides grieving the possible scenarios of their own death, patients on a heart transplant list “were also grieving in this way for their potential heart donor and the death that would have to happen to extend their own lives,” according to a study published in the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation.
    • Amputation
      A review of 134 studies of the social and psychological challenges that face amputees found that the time before the operation can be the most upsetting. Patients express grief over the unknowns surrounding their future, including “pain, financial difficulties, general health and future functional capabilities at home or on the job.”
    • Impending loss of a pet
    • A new job, a new relationship, a geographic move or a teen leaving home for college
      Even planned, desired life changes can prompt anticipatory grief related to the prospective loss of identity, friends or routine.

    Anticipatory grief can also surface around pregnancy and childbirth, including:

    • In-utero complications
      Parents who learn that their unborn baby may not survive can experience anticipatory grief around the potential loss.
    • Premature birth
      “Anticipatory grief may set in as parents mourn the loss of their ‘imagined’ or ‘wished for baby,’ as they struggle to develop a bond with their ‘real baby,’” write researchers in Primary Care of the Premature Infant. In some mothers, these feelings “may be rooted in her belief that her inability to bring her baby to term is a personal failure.”

    Anticipatory Grief and Age

    The younger a person is, the more severely they may experience anticipatory grief, particularly as it relates to death. In a review of 15 studies exploring anticipatory grief and illness, doctors at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that “younger caregivers and younger patients tended to report higher ratings of anticipatory grief.” In one study of adults with terminal cancer, patients under age 25 experienced more anticipatory grief than patients age 26 to 55. The younger group “viewed death as extinction,” influencing their grief, researchers found.

    Anticipatory Grief vs. Conventional Grief: What’s the Difference?

    Think of conventional grief as “grieving backward,” says Werner-Lin—mourning a loss that has already happened. Anticipatory grief is forward-looking. We’re grieving “what we still believe we might lose,” she says.

    This leaves space for hope, however unrealistic, that the loss may not occur. Anticipatory grievers might find themselves “hanging on to possibilities” in ways that may not be helpful, Werner-Lin says. Conversely, in a situation like a pandemic, it can be helpful to step back and remember that the worst might not happen.

    What You Might Feel When Experiencing Anticipatory Grief

    People undergoing anticipatory grief report a range of feelings that may include:

    • Anger or irritability
    • Anxiety
    • Denial
    • The desire to withdraw from social situations
    • Desperation
    • Dread
    • Guilt
    • An intense preoccupation with the dying person
    • Lethargy or lack of motivation
    • Loneliness
    • Loss of control over one’s emotions
    • Sadness
    • Tearfulness

    The Stages of Anticipatory Grief

    There’s no set order to what you might feel as you undergo anticipatory grief, and there’s no “finishing” one feeling before you move to the next. You may experience many emotions one day and none the next. You may think you’re done feeling certain emotions only for them to return days or weeks later.

    With that in mind, here are four phases a person with anticipatory grief may experience, separately or simultaneously, in any order, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center, a nonprofit research university in Rochester, New York:

    • Accepting that death is inevitable. This phase often co-occurs with feelings of sadness and depression.
    • Feeling concern for the dying person. For family and friends, this phase may express itself in regret—for example, feeling regret over past arguments or disagreements with the person they are about to lose. For the dying person, this concern may translate to fear of what it’s like to die.
    • Rehearsing the death. A person may become focused on funeral arrangements, saying goodbyes and other concerns related directly to what will happen in the time immediately surrounding the impending death.
    • Imagining the future. Family and friends may envision what life will be like without their loved one. This phase may include visualizing holidays and other special occasions without the person or thinking about objects that will be left behind. The person dying may think about similar scenarios, wondering what it will be like for their loved ones to experience life without them. The dying person may also imagine what their own experience may be like after death—what, if anything, comes next.

    Potential Benefits of Anticipatory Grief

    Anticipatory grief doesn’t necessarily reduce pain after loss. Any potential benefits have largely been studied in the context of anticipatory grief before death.

    Some early research suggested the preemptive processing of a loss could help a person better cope once the loss occurred. “Within this paradigm, the bereaved are able to deal with any unfinished business, say their good-byes, clarify any misunderstandings, and prepare for social adjustments to come, thereby having a less distressful and disabling period of bereavement when the death does occur,” according to a research review published in the journal Counselling, Psychotherapy, and Health.

    However, some more recent studies argue that anticipatory grief has no effect on post-death bereavement. Others find that pre-loss anticipatory grief may be a factor in predicting prolonged grief disorder.

    At best, research is contradictory. However, keep in mind that one doesn’t choose to feel anticipatory grief. More important than considering its benefits is making sure you get the proper help to work through it.

    How to Deal With Anticipatory Grief

    If you’re experiencing anticipatory grief, it’s important to talk about it with someone. “Grief is a universal human experience,” says Dr. Werner-Lin, and discussing it with others is how you begin to work through it.

    She gives the example of a group of rare disease patients and caregivers her research team worked with. Prior to talking about their anticipatory grief, “they all really independently felt like they were just plain struggling and not holding up their end of the bargain of humanity,” she says. “When really what was happening is something we could explain and work through. Talk about the dimensions of it. Talk about where it moved into their lives and filled in cracks and crevices, or was taking over their day-to-day lives and their relationships.”

    Dr. Werner-Lin recommends using the American Psychological Association’s Psychologist Locator Program to find a mental health provider who specializes in grief, whether that be a psychologist, psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, social worker or counselor.

    Common counseling interventions include narrative therapy, which can help the grieving person reframe loss, and active listening, which allows the grieving person ample time and space to talk out their feelings, prompted by insightful questions from the counselor. This type of out-loud musing can help a person process their grief.

    Another form of evidence-based intervention is cognitive behavioral therapy. In this type of therapy, grief-related thoughts are identified and processed, and the grieving person is taught to reframe their evaluations about themselves, the world and their future. It focuses on managing distressing emotions and encouraging actions to help a person experience pleasure, joy, and a sense of community.

    If you don’t have the financial resources to hire a counselor, it’s still beneficial to talk to family and friends, who can engage in active listening and offer other support that’s important for processing grief, such as empathy and validation.

    For an end-of-life patient, anticipatory grief therapy may improve quality of life before death and may alleviate depression.

    Many insurance plans cover a percentage of therapy costs retroactively via claims forms. Call the number on your insurance card to ask about policies.

    Complete Article HERE!

In ‘The Living Sea of Waking Dreams,’

— Last-ditch medical interventions are their own horror story

Confined to a hospital bed, her 86-year-old body shutting down, her mind “breaking into fragments and receding,” Francie asks a nurse to bring her a contemporary novel. The nurse returns with, of all things, “Sabbath’s Theater,” Philip Roth’s sexually explicit work about an aging, suicidal creep. It’s just one of many indignities visited upon poor Francie in “The Living Sea of Waking Dreams,” Australian writer Richard Flanagan’s latest novel.

Flanagan won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2014 for “The Narrow Road to the Deep North,” an extraordinary novel about Australian POWs during World War II that is unsparing in its considerations of human cruelty. “The Living Sea of Waking Dreams” shares its predecessor’s concerns but little of its power.

A survivor of cancer and the brain-damaging condition hydrocephalus, Francie is back in the hospital when the novel opens. She has “taken a bad turn,” and her condition worsens after she falls and experiences a brain hemorrhage. As Francie’s decline accelerates, her three late-middle-aged children become increasingly determined to keep her alive. They force their mother into last-ditch medical interventions with the complicity of a health-care system Flanagan suggests is more interested in its well-being than that of its patients. Because “The Living Sea of Waking Dreams” is essentially a horror story, their efforts succeed.

Yet this is not Francie’s story. It’s about Anna, the eldest child, only daughter and family narcissist. An architect, Anna is frequently summoned from Sydney to her birthplace in Tasmania by her blue-collar brother Tommy, whom she disdains for being “that most bourgeois of embarrassments: the lower-class relative.”

Her assessments of Francie are even ranker. She looks upon the woman’s “wretched body” as nonhuman, “a carapace of something long ago caught and killed in a spider’s web.” Her reactions to Francie’s scent are equally unkind.

Allowing that her once-strict mother’s “true nature . . . was open, gentle, and loving,” Anna initially wishes for Francie to die so her pain can end. But then, Anna’s ego intervenes. “And precisely because of her shame she saw that henceforth she would have to devote her very being to keeping her mother alive,” Flanagan writes. From there, Anna’s justifications for Francie’s torment pile up like so many medical bills.

Anna has an ally in her youngest brother, Terzo, a businessman who discusses the prolonging of Francie’s life in terms of “victory” and “triumph.” They bully Tommy, whose stuttering they mock and whose poverty they find offensive, into agreeing with them about Francie’s care. “As Terzo put it, with a smile,” Flanagan writes, “they were a board of directors examining a newly acquired corporate takeover.”

Flanagan gets close to something good here, a wicked take on end-of-life care, economic privilege and hubris in the face of death. “The Living Sea of Waking Dreams” can even be viewed as a decent allegory on the climate crisis, which Anna contemplates while scrolling through Instagram, often while on the toilet. In one welcome, Jenny Offill-like moment, Flanagan writes: “How did you adapt to your own murder, wondered Anna as she watched a cat video. Was that what was happening? Were they adapting to their own extinction? Was she?”

If only Flanagan weren’t so obvious about it all. No point in this book is too plain that it can’t be blasted with a spotlight. As Anna watches Australia burn from the narcotizing screen of her phone, her mother vanishes into hallucinations of one-eyed CIA agents and “animals turning into birds and then into plants.” Piece by piece, Anna also begins to fade away. A hand disappears and then a knee, as if they’ve been digitally erased. She feels no pain, and her mobility is unaffected. “But now it had vanished she realised she missed it,” Anna thinks of her invisible knee. “But like the aurochs it was gone. Like the thylacine and the Walkman. Like long sentences. Like smoke-free summers. Gone, never to return.” Like a reader’s patience.

That Anna is unlikable doesn’t really matter, of course. Cold hearts and warped minds make for great literature. What irritates most about Flanagan’s novel is that Anna is more a character than a person. She’s hard to take and harder to believe. Is Anna, in her late 50s, really “shocked” to discover that Francie is more than just a mother but “an adult independent of [her family] and their needs”? Does it really take her so long to realize that postponing Francie’s death is not the same as giving her life? Is she only now understanding that “the more the essential world vanished the more people needed to fixate on the inessential world”? Did she really not know any of this? Did Flanagan?

Complete Article HERE!

What Happens at a Christian Burial?

If you aren’t someone who goes to church regularly, then you might be intimidated by the idea of going to a Christian burial. However, you shouldn’t be worried. While Christian burials certainly have their rituals and traditions, most burials are accessible to secular individuals.

Every religion has its versions of a burial service. For example, a burial at a Catholic church is going to focus less on the deceased person and more on religious readings. This means that there won’t be any eulogies by friends or family.

However, you shouldn’t let that put you off Christian burials entirely.

Many Christian funerals, such as Protestant ones, are more low-key and modest. They tend to focus more on the person who is being mourned.

So if you are interested in learning about Christian burials, then keep on reading and we will take you through everything you will want to know.

What Happens During a ChristianBurial Service

A Christian burial will usually take place about one week after the death takes place. A lot of Christian families will choose to hold a wake before the actual funeral.

Christian burials all have some religious aspects, regardless of the denomination that the person followed. These rituals tend to be laid out in programs that are handed out at the beginning of the service.

If you do not attend church regularly and you are not sure what you should be doing, then just follow along with what everyone else does.

The Wake Before the Service

Wakes tend to be held a few days ahead of a funeral. However, there are some instances where they take place on the same day.

In the case of wakes that take place on the same day, the wake will usually occur in the same church as the funeral.

A lot of wakes tend to happen at a funeral home.
Christian beliefs about burial traditions and death allow for embalming. So the casket might be open at a wake. This will depend on a lot of different factors, including the wishes of the deceased and the person’s family.

If you have never been to an open viewing before, then you might be a little unsettled by the experience. It can be hard to see the person you knew and is no longer alive.

You can still attend the wake even if you do not want to go up to the casket to say goodbye or to get a better look. Instead, you can simply focus on interacting with fellow mourners in the spirit of the event.

Typical Service Program

Mourners will take seats at the burial site or in the church. After everyone has settled down, a pallbearer will bring the coffin to the gravesite.

If the deceased was cremated, then someone will come with an urn of ashes.

After this happens, a lot of Christian services will include a hymn in their program. Someone who was closed to the deceased will then read a message of hope.

This could be a piece of secular text or a passage from the bible. Whatever the text is, it is meant to honor the deceased and give hope to the people who survived them. The minister might also read a message of hope.

After, there will be a section for remembering and reflecting. The church might choose to play music.

Families will sometimes ask people to lay a flower or other item on the casket.

These kinds of burial rituals are meant to create a sense of connection to the deceased. After this reflection, another hymn is going to play to encourage everyone to go back to their seats.

The ceremony will end with everyone saying goodbye. The minister might also ask you to bow your heads while another piece of music plays. This tends to be the most emotional segment of the event.

Christian Burials and Post-Funeral Practices

Every religion has traditions around burials and cremations. Christian denominations aren’t any different. Christian beliefs about death will inform the burial rituals and other practices.

Cremation and Burial Customs

In a Christian burial, the body of the deceased person is usually interred in a ground that’s consecrated. Cremation used to be forbidden to Christians because it was believed that it interfered with resurrection.

However, those rules have relaxed over time. For Catholic people, cremated remains are still buried. Other Christian denominations will allow for ashes not to be interred. However, some have rules against scattering ashes.

However, if you’re wondering what does the bible say about cremation, you might be surprised to learn that it doesn’t say a whole lot.


The proper funeral attire in the United States is all black. You should dress formally with men wearing dark suits and women wearing conservative dresses. Funerals in other cultures may dress differently.

The Importance of Knowing What Happens at a Christian Burial

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better understanding of what happens at a Christian burial. As we can see, while a lot might take place at a Christian burial, you really only have to participate as much as you feel comfortable with.

In the end, it is simply about respecting the traditions and mourning the deceased. If you do that, then you shouldn’t have any issues.

Are you looking for other helpful and interesting articles? If so, then check out the rest of our site today for more!