Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room.
I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used,
Put no difference into your tone.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the jokes we enjoyed together.
Think of me
Give thanks for my Life.
A colleague and I were chatting a few weeks ago, after we had both lost someone. Funerals, and memorials vary widely depending on the kind of affair the deceased had organised, or how the family decides to honour their loved one, they even vary depending on whether they passed unexpectedly, or whether it had been a long battle to the end. Some people find the restrictions of a funeral hard on their own journey of grief, and want to find another way they can honour the person who has passed.
I recently went to a funeral which lacked any formality. The deceased had actually wanted there to be no ceremony- but his wife couldn’t bear the idea of that, so went for a super simple affair with very few attendees. There were no readings, no eulogies, no picture slideshows, just 8 carefully selected musical tracks which played in the background as guests arrived and when the last song had played, everyone simply got up and went to the club for drink together.
Perhaps not everyone needs to have people say nice things about them, and pretend that they were faultless and a saint throughout their life, but for me, talking about the good old times is really all part of the grieving process, and I missed that in this particular case. In fact, I found the silence overwhelming. Being alone with my own thoughts was deafening, and it made me more emotional than if there had been speeches and readings to focus upon.
You may also feel compelled to honour the deceased in your own special way, personally and privately, or in a way that others can share in. For example, I found this simple idea (above) which I thought could be easily adapted to include loved ones names and significant dates in even the smallest of gardens. You can then add stones when needed without sacrificing more space in your garden, which is suitable for our small urban living spaces.
My friend and I had been talking about the idea of starting a special memorial garden, or section in your garden where you can honour people who have passed. This could work particularly well for school or community groups where people are able to congregate in a public area. In fact, that’s exactly what a one local school has recently done. After losing two staff members in a short period after long battles with cancer, they set about creating a memorial space. The teacher’s classes were encouraged to choose the plant and be involved in the planting and maintenance and again, this garden needn’t get any bigger. Choose appropriate sized plants or you could even include small plaques to an established garden bed.
You will often find that these days, families ask that no flowers be sent to the funeral. Aside from the cost involved in paying tribute to someone this way, often so many pieces are given on the one day, and it is impossible to enjoy them all at once. They are either left at the service, or it is up to friends and family to transport them back to the family home. You can obviously choose to send something directly to the home, and if this is something you wish to do, be guided by your florist who will certainly suggest sending something that is self contained.
Another idea is to stagger the deliveries of sympathy flowers to the home. This can be organised directly with the local florist so that the family is not overwhelmed in the first few days only to be left with a house full of arrangements dying at the same time. This way the family can enjoy fresh flowers for weeks or months, and can appreciate them individually.
Whilst it is not customary to provide a ‘gift’ or favour to funeral guests, how cute is this idea of giving guests a packet of a favourite flower/herb/wildflower, or forget-me-nots to take home and plant at home. It is certainly perfect for an avid gardener, and adds an extra personal touch to the service.
Well, there are some ideas for you to think over. For all your sympathy flower needs, head here.
Perhaps you have recently lost someone special like me, and don’t want to feel like they have been forgotten….
Forever in your heart, never forgotten.