While many turn to comforting traditions at a time of loss, there are a wide range of new trends emerging in the way we send off our loved ones. Seniors are living longer than ever before and may have quite a few years to ponder their final goodbye.
The use of technology is becoming increasingly popular to reach family and friends around the world following a death. Many funeral homes have websites with online memorials, videos, guest books and even live broadcasts of funeral services for guests who cannot travel. It can be very comforting for family to visit the site in the days and weeks following a loss to read the supportive messages and memories from family and friends.
Today’s funerals are more personal and individualized than in generations past, when one service was very much like the next. Memorials and services that celebrate the lives; the passions, accomplishments, interests and personality of the person who has died allow a more intimate and meaningful farewell to a friend or family member.
Some of the popular options that help to make a service more personal may include a photo collage, video compilation or favorite playlist of music. Special mementos may be displayed during the service or a balloon or butterfly release planned to say goodbye. For some, a candlelight ceremony offers a special sense of peace and community or the planting of a memory garden may provide a continuing space for loved ones to quietly reflect.
For those who have planned their own funeral, many of the details can be prearranged including music, photos or video, flowers, readings, burial details and even keepsakes to be given to close friends and family. Online funeral arrangements are expected to become increasingly more common among Baby Boomers who are comfortable in this realm and expect to find value even in planning their end-of-life needs. And of course for those who find money is no object, the ashes of the deceased can be transformed into a diamond, launched into space or used to help rebuild coral reefs.
The big take-away? Funerals can be designed to accommodate almost any preference or belief system, don’t be afraid to ask. The environmentalist can reflect their life’s work with a “green funeral”, the music enthusiast can be carried out with song, the sports fan can share their love of the game or the devoted mother can have an intimate home funeral service. The choices are endless it would seem and worth considering long before your final curtain call.