How can I honour their wishes and still take care of the emotional needs of those who are left behind?

Father consoling his son at funeral

It’s quite common for people to tell their loved ones that they don’t want the family to do anything special when they pass away. They’ll say things like, “I don’t want a funeral” or “just cremate me.” They believe that by skipping the funeral step, they will be making it easier for the family.

Sadly, this does not make it easier for the family or their friends. At the time of a loss, people naturally desire to gather to support each other and express their condolences. This is an essential part of the emotional healing process. When this does not happen, family and friends suffer more…not less.

Providing a time for family and friends to gather and honour the life of a loved one is critical. It is possible to honour their wishes and still offer a gathering place. It doesn’t have to resemble a traditional funeral. For example, you could hold a reception or a gathering at the funeral home or elsewhere.