The funeral or memorial of your loved one should be an event that celebrates their life and reflects what they would have wanted. For many families, this includes personalizing the memorial to include the interests of the person who passed away. But integrating some interests can be tricky. How can your family successfully do so? Here are a few steps to follow.
1. Discuss What the Person Was Known For
As a family, sit down and brainstorm what you think of when you think of your loved one. This can include their hobbies, volunteer work, collections, personal style, favorite books or music, or habits. People are multifaceted, and most families will come up with more than one interest that can be used to honor the deceased.
2. Brainstorm Ways to Use Interests
Work as a group to come up with ideas for how to incorporate tributes to these interests before, during, or after a memorial. This could range from subtle homages like using the person's favorite color to large-scale tributes like hiring their favorite band. Come up with different options for each interest. In addition to hiring the band, for instance, you might also suggest giving out the band's record to guests or using lyrics in a reading.
3. Think About What the Person Would Want
Certainly, one key to funeral planning is determining what the deceased person would have wanted. And when trying to find ways to incorporate their interests, the family can run the risk of doing so in ways that the late person wouldn't have wanted. If your family member kept their love of comic books to themselves, for example, they may not want you to turn their funeral service program into a graphic novel.
4. Think About the Mourners
Surviving family and friends should be a part of this decision. Would the deceased's spouse be happy to see the pallbearers wearing team jerseys? Or could this well-intentioned move make things difficult for that person? The extent to which the feelings of mourners should be considered depends on each family's circumstances, but usually compromises can be found.
5. Select the Right Options
After formulating a list of potential tributes, thinking about your loved one's personality, and considering the effect on family members, select options that are most appropriate. By coming up with different ideas, you can find choices that will please everyone — or most people, at least. Some families might vote on these choices while others allow the executor to make the final decisions.
Where to Start
Want to know more about using your loved one's interests, hobbies, and affiliations in their memorial? Start by consulting with a funeral home in your area. With the expertise they have gained working with families of all sorts, they can help you find the right solutions and craft the perfect sendoff.