There are 2.4 million funerals every year in the United States. Although, our aging population means that this number will only increase in the coming years.
While not everyone has a funeral service, these ceremonies hold special importance for the individuals involved and for society as a whole. But what exactly is the purpose of funerals? Keep reading to discover more about why funerals are important.
Acknowledge the Reality of the Death
It’s natural to rebel against the reality of having lost a loved one. For anyone struggling to come to terms with death, the funeral ritual is an important first step toward acceptance. Once we are able to confront and eventually accept the passing of our loved ones, we are often much better able to process our grief and start healing.
Remember the Departed
Although funerals tend to be somber occasions, they also give us an opportunity to remember and celebrate the life of the person who has died. Common elements of burial rites such as the eulogy, readings, and songs, as well as the gathering of friends and family, allow us to recall and share meaningful contributions about our relationships with the departed.
This act of reminiscing and talking in the past tense helps mourners move the relationship from one of presence to one of memory. Often, we have to go back before we are able to take the first step toward the grief we’ll face without them in our future.
Burial rites are often open ceremonies, encouraging the community to gather together in support of those closest to the departed. Mourners can find comfort in connecting with those attending, sharing memories, and listening to others while being mindful of basic funeral etiquette.
Our actions and words at the funeral may vary depending on our relationship with the departed and other mourners. But for many, attending is a sign of support in itself.
Human beings are social animals wired to feel, connect with others, and express themselves. But the deep and incomprehensible grief we feel when a loved one dies can become unbearable if we have no outlet for all this emotion.
Funerals offer us an occasion to confront and release this grief in a way that helps up begin the journey toward healing. Whether you want to talk, cry, or sit quietly and remember in the caring company of others, expression is an important purpose of funerals.
Understanding the Importance of a Funeral Service
As these different reasons show, the main importance of funerals is to help those left behind come to terms with the death of their loved ones.
Funerals allow us to confront and accept the reality of our loved one’s death, refer back to their life, and then find ways to express our grief through the comfort of others. In many ways, a funeral service is a rite of passage that we emerge from transformed, ready to begin a new relationship with our departed loved one and a new role within our community.
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