How To Bring Storytelling & Celebration Back to Funerals

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Funerals are a time for mourning, but they can also be an opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of the person who has passed away. One way to do this is by incorporating storytelling into the funeral service. Storytelling can help honor the person’s life through the memories and experiences you all share and bring comfort and closure to those who are grieving. However, this approach can be a little challenging, which is why we have provided some tips on how to bring storytelling and celebrations back to funerals.

Why Storytelling Matters

In recent years, there has been a growing movement to bring more personalization and celebration back to funerals. This shift arises from the belief that funerals should reflect the person’s life and personality rather than a cookie-cutter ceremony that doesn’t capture the essence of who they were. By incorporating storytelling into funerals, we can create a more meaningful and personalized service that reflects the life and legacy of the person who has passed away.

Storytelling can help to capture the person’s unique personality, passions, and experiences, and it can also bring a sense of connection and community to those who are mourning. In this way, storytelling and celebration can bring comfort and healing to those who are grieving and create a lasting tribute to the person’s life and legacy.

Invite Others To Share

Storytelling can be a powerful way to honor and remember a loved one at a funeral. As such, consider inviting family and friends to share stories. Prior to the funeral, let attendees know that they are welcome to share stories about the deceased during the service. You can do this by including a note in the funeral program or asking the officiant to mention it at the beginning of the service.

Choose a Theme

Select a theme or topic that reflects the personality or interests of the deceased, and encourage people to share stories related to that theme. For example, if the deceased was an avid traveler, ask people to share stories about their travel experiences with the person. When you introduce a theme and invite others to share, it can almost feel like the person’s spirit is right there with you all. That’s why it’s such a great way to bring storytelling and celebration back to funerals.

Use Multimedia

Consider incorporating photos or videos of the deceased into the service. You could create a slideshow or video montage of their life or display photos on a table for attendees to browse. Keep in mind that you can also make a website that contains videos or photos that people can visit to celebrate and reflect on the person’s life. These photos and videos can bring up memories of the person that you or others might want to share.

Create a Memory Book

Provide attendees with a blank book or journal, and encourage them to write down their favorite memories of the deceased. Journaling can be a meaningful way for people to reflect on their relationship with the person and can be a cherished keepsake for the family. However, you can also have a forum online where friends and family of the loved one can share their personal stories. This collective digital journal is great as it provides a place where everyone can read these stories and rejoice in the person’s life.

Celebrating One’s Life

Many cultures around the world see the death of a loved one as an opportunity to celebrate their life. Viewing funerals as a place to mourn is more common in the US. We often feel like we can only express our sadness and nothing else. However, that approach to funerals may not resonate with some. You don’t have to stick to the tried and true process; celebrate the person’s life in a way that feels right to you.

Highlight Accomplishments

Rather than focusing solely on the person’s passing, celebrate their life by highlighting their achievements, passions, and interests. You can do this through storytelling, photos, or even playing music that reflects their personality.

You can plan an activity that commemorates the person and allows others to participate outside of the funeral. For example, if the person enjoyed hiking, you might consider hiking one of the routes they frequented. Highlighting the person’s accomplishments is a great way to keep their spirit and energy alive in everyone’s memory.

Gifts of Remembrance

When thinking about the person’s interests and passions, you might also consider incorporating them into the service. For example, if the person was an avid gardener, you could provide flower seeds or bulbs for attendees to take home and plant in memory of them.

You can also send guests home with personalized prayer cards that they can keep close by during a time they want to reflect on the person. However, you want to ensure your prayer card reflects the person’s spirit and personality. At Honor You, we provide memorial cards that you can customize. We are also happy to help you with the design process.

Festive Atmosphere

Funerals can have quite a heavy atmosphere where it feels like you can’t emote or express yourself as you would want to. However, there are no rules when it comes to grieving. As such, consider incorporating traditionally celebratory elements, such as balloons or colorful decorations, to create a more festive atmosphere. Doing so can help shift the focus from mourning to celebrating the person’s life. You can also incorporate cultural elements or the person’s interests to further personalize the space.

Healing and Grieving

We understand that healing and grieving is a process that goes up and down and back and forth. It’s important to know that however you choose to grieve is completely okay and the best option for you as you move through this pain.

By incorporating celebration and storytelling into a funeral, we can create a more personalized and meaningful service that honors the person’s life and legacy. Celebrating the person’s life can bring comfort and closure to those who are grieving and serve as a reminder of the positive impact the person had on those around them.

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