When Your Loved One Didn’t Want a Funeral

When a loved one dies, it’s traditional to honor their memory with a funeral or memorial service. Sometimes, though, a person really does not want a funeral. This can leave those left behind feeling a lack of closure that can impede the grieving process. If you want to respect your loved one’s wishes about not having a funeral but still want to find a way to honor his or her life, there are many ways to do so.

  • Write an obituary for the local paper . By sitting down to think about your loved one’s life and accomplishments, you’ve already honored his or her memory. Sharing the story with the community is another important way for you to begin processing your grief. The obituary doesn’t have to be solemn or traditional; some of the most meaningful obituaries reflect the person’s life, sometimes exhibiting a bit of irreverence along the way.
  • Take up one of your loved one’s hobbies . Whether it was cooking, salsa dancing, knitting, golf, tennis or scrapbooking, doing something your loved one enjoyed can make you feel closer to that person. If the hobby is also a handicraft, learning that skill can also build your loved one’s legacy.
  • Make your own small memorial to the person who has died. Assemble favorite photos and trinkets with a candle, and light the candle every time you think about your loved one. When you light it, spend a few moments of quiet reflection.
  • Create an online tribute . An online tribute to your loved one can include an obituary, photos and even a guestbook so that people can share their condolences and memories of the person who has died.
  • Donate to a favorite cause. Is there something about which your loved one was truly passionate? Giving your time and money to support that cause is a good way to honor his or her memory.
  • Host a small gathering in your loved one’s honor. Maybe your loved one didn’t want a funeral, but that doesn’t mean people can’t gather to remember. An intimate gathering of family and friends can give people the opportunity to share stories, reminisce, and begin to process their grief.
  • Make a pilgrimage to places that were important in your loved one’s life. Sometimes, a road trip can be cathartic. Traveling to places that held a special significance for someone can help you understand that person better. Especially when shared with someone else who loved the person who has died, such a trip can be life-affirming as you remember and create new memories.

You can skip the funeral service in order to respect a loved one’s wish, but remember that funerals can actually help the healing begin. More of a boon to the living, they can be a place to remember, connect and begin to move on with life. Whether or not you want to have a funeral, Evergreen Cemetery and Mortuary can help you make your loved one’s final arrangements. Call (520) 399-6652 to learn more.