Why funerals should be seen as a celebration of life

When it comes to organising a funeral, often the emotions are so overwhelming that many tend to opt for a standard service where decision-making is kept to a minimum, over a more personalised one. Whether you are thinking of planning your funeral or someone else’s, we believe that every funeral should be unique to the individual, reflecting and celebrating the life of the person who has passed away. This is why it is important to understand all the options available.

The funeral industry is continually evolving with celebrities paving the way for more planned and creative funeral ceremonies and it’s important that you remember that you too have the opportunity to plan your funeral exactly how you want it. Today, we’re sharing some of the options available to you and we want to reiterate the importance of planning ahead and how it can help your loved ones on the day.

Burials and eco-friendly options
When thinking about your final resting place, it’s not always an easy choice – it can be hard to find the right answer for you, especially when you are not ready to face the thought. Burial has traditionally been the most popular choice across the world, either due to personal preference of religious reasons. But the increasing awareness of the environmental impact of burials has also given birth to a new trend: eco-funerals. People are becoming more mindful of the fluids used in embalming and materials used to construct coffins, and as such we are starting to see people investing in greener and eco-friendlier options with, for example, biodegradable coffins. Artist Gina Czarnecki recently created biodegradable coffins made from Lignin, a natural material which is 100% biodegradable and requires less energy to burn than wood. If you want to take it one step further, the latest addition to the ever-growing list of options is body composition which is becoming popular in the US. The body is placed in a mix of wood chips and other compost materials and the microbes and bacteria decompose the body turning it into soil that your loved ones can take home and reuse.

What it means to be cremated
An alternative to burial, cremation is an option that is gaining popularity in Britain. Not only is it a cheaper option, beneficial to families struggling with funeral poverty, but it also gives people the opportunity to celebrate life in many different ways by keeping or scattering the ashes. Celebrities are further personalising the experience by coming up with creative ways to scatter their loved ones’ ashes. Take David Bowie for example. After he died in 2016, his body was cremated and his ashes scattered in Bali as he wished. Choosing to be cremated can have a significant emotional impact on your family as it can help them to feel closer to you when saying the final goodbye. Besides traditional urns where your loved ones can keep your ashes, today there are several innovative ways of scattering and transforming cremains. From sending your cremains into space to turning them into a piece of jewellery that you can embellish with your fingerprints, for example, so that your loved ones will always be able to carry around the memory of you – there is an option for every taste. But remember, death doesn’t have to be seen as the end. By using your ashes to grow a tree or a shrub, you can actually nurture life and why not? It could help to create a place where your loved ones will be able to visit and feel close to you. There is no limit to what you can plan for the day; the only thing that matters is that you choose something that represents you and is personal to you.

Your religion matters
We live in a world of multicultural richness and diversity and with so many different faiths and beliefs it is important that this is respected and taken into consideration on such an important day. Every religion has different ways of celebrating life, so we suggest you inform your funeral director of any specific requirements to ensure that the service is as tailored as possible to your beliefs. Alternatively, some people might not be particularly religious and there is nothing wrong with that either. Non-religious ceremonies don’t usually have any prayers or readings and the purpose is to allow the guests to feel free to share their memories and prayers if they wish to. If you would prefer a non-religious ceremony, this must be specified to your funeral director in advance or written into your will.

Take away the stress: plan ahead
Funeral costs have risen by 70% in the last 10 years, and in some cases resulted in financial issues for some loved ones left behind. Funeral poverty is an issue facing British citizens and it has made burial almost a luxury. A recent study shows that one in three people who recently had to arrange a funeral wanted their own to be as cheap possible. This is a tough reality that is hitting all of us and it’s heart-breaking. Planning a funeral doesn’t need to be a burden for you or your family. Choosing a pre-paid plan will offer you peace of mind that everything has been taken care of, allowing you to manage costs more effectively. If you are not sure where to start, consult your funeral director. They will be able to support you and your family by explaining the options available for your budget, helping you to make decisions that you are comfortable with.

Deciding what steps to take after you pass away is never easy and your funeral director can help you understand your options, guiding you towards a solution that truly reflects who you are. Speak to them if you have any concerns or if you are not sure where to start. Here at Coles we are always happy to help during this difficult time and we will do everything we can to fulfil your wishes for this important day to the smallest detail. You are not alone, we are here every step of the way.