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t a celebration of life, friends and family gather to honor and remember a loved one’s special life. A person's hobbies, skills, passions, occupation and charming personality traits can inform a unique tribute to a special life.
Not sure where to start? Dignity Memorial® planners are experienced at helping families create personalized memorials that deeply reflect the people they honor..
Was Dad a person who never missed baseball's opening day? An afternoon with peanuts, hot dogs and popcorn is in order. Or was he a reserved man with a library that had to be seen to be believed? Give away some of his favorite books to friends and family at his memorial. Maybe his profession was his passion—that’s something to celebrate, too.
Whatever Dad loved to do—whomever he was—we can help you capture what made him the person you were proud of, the guy you loved, and the father you adored. Here are 50 celebration of life ideas to get you started.
Barber: Dad's customers were like family. Ask as many as you can to write down their most cherished barbershop memories; bind them together in small books for others to read.
Woodworker: You rarely saw dad without his tool belt. Pass out pocket-size measuring tapes so guests can carry a little bit of Dad wherever they go.
Cook: Honor his love of food by holding the celebration of life at his favorite restaurant, or with his favorite recipes. Toast to his many delicious meals that brought family and friends together.
Construction: Dad never hung up his hardhat, working long hours making sure projects stayed on track. Take photos of the places he helped build and hang them around the room.
Doctor or healthcare worker: He committed his life to healing his patients. Display his white coat and stethoscope on a garment form. Ask guests to contribute to a healthcare nonprofit in lieu of sending flowers.
First responder: His duty as a public servant was his honor. For firefighters, the day wouldn’t be complete without a hook-and-ladder truck, of course. Park it at the entrance so that guests get a glimpse of his ride.
Farmer: Use mini tractors and fresh vegetables as table centerpieces. Serve a Sunday-style supper of fried chicken, green beans, corn on the cob and biscuits.
Journalist: He really knew how to sniff out a story. Issue a press release instead of a program, cover tables with newsprint, display all of his awards.
Policeman: He was a hero in your life—and for many others you may not even know. Ask his fellow officers to record short videos to play at the celebration of life.
Photographer: His Canon went everywhere he did. Place instant cameras on tables and ask guests to snap pics to leave behind when the celebration of life is over.
Pilot/airline worker: Design a program like an old-school airline ticket. Give guests wing pins to wear when they arrive. Serve drinks and snacks from a rolling cart.
Rancher: Dad was always at home on the range, so host the event at his barn. Ask friends and family to wear jeans and boots. Tack up his favorite mare as a special guest.
Animal lover: They say dog is man’s friend. Dad and his pup were proof of that. Invite the SPCA to host an adoption event at Dad's memorial and someone may just walk away with his new best pal.
Baseball fan: Hang pennants and jerseys from his favorite team. Ask guests to wear team colors. Be sure everyone gets his or her fill of chili dogs.
Boater: Dad was always happiest when he was making a wake. Meet for a ceremony at his dock before taking his boat for one more sunset cruise with close friends and family.
Basketball fan: Shoot for hoops-themed afternoon, complete with team colors and mini basketballs from his alma mater.
Classic car lover: You could always find dad in the garage, tinkering with his latest set of wheels. Display his pride and joy, and ask members of his car club to bring theirs.
Football fan: Commandeer the funeral home parking lot for a real-deal tailgate. Set up flat-screens and put a game on, have burgers on the grill, and ask everyone to come in team colors.
Grill master: Pop’s ribs were legendary. Share his dry rub recipe with guests, and bring in BBQ from a few local joints for a group taste test.
Kiwanis/Lions/Rotary/Masons: Serving the community was at the heart of everything Dad did. Ask fellow club members to organize a volunteer outing for family and friends.
Outdoorsman: The wilderness was no match for Dad. Pitch a tent and kick off the event with campfire stories. Send home guests with the makings for s’mores.
Racing fan: If Sundays were for the speedway, deck tables in black-and-white checkered tablecloths and show famous races on the flat-screen.
Traveler: Design the program like a passport. Fill suitcases with maps and souvenirs from Dad’s favorite destinations.
Wine connoisseur: Dad’s wine knowledge was something to be admired. Gather close friends for big reds and fond memories. Let guests take home souvenir wine glasses.
Artist: Transform the funeral home into an art gallery. Hang some of Dad's work and host a silent auction for his favorite charity.
Baseball card collector: Frame some of his more coveted cards and display them with other memorabilia on the tables at the service.
Biker: For Dad, there was nothing like an open highway. Set the dress code as leather and serve chicken-fried steak as a nod to his chosen roadside diner.
Billiards player: Set up a pool table in the funeral home and have guests cue up. Chill out with burgers and beers.
Bird watcher: Invite guests to his favorite nature conservatory. Let the natural beauty—and the sound of songbirds—be the backdrop. Have guests bring their binoculars.
Bowler: Reserve a few lanes at the local alley and divide guests into teams. Ask friends and family to use a Sharpie to sign Dad’s bowling ball.
Black-tie affair: Host a fancy event with a violin player and passed hors d’oeuvres for your classy guy. Ask guests to toast to Dad’s memory during a seated dinner.
Country and western: You know Dad loved to show off his two-step. Hire a crooner and put down a dance floor.
Day at the races: If Derby Day was an official holiday at your house, ask friends and family to wear seersucker suits and fabulous hats. Pass out mint juleps for the toast.
Disco: He liked to boogie, sohang a mirror ball and hire a DJ to play all Dad’s favorite ’70s hits. Have guests wear costumes that channel your dancing king.
Game night: Set up tables with different games—dominoes, Scrabble, Cards Against Humanity, even charades—and ask guests to remember Dad’s competitive spirit as they cheer each other on.
Night at the movies: He could quote lines from practically every film released since 1960. Roll out the red carpet and ask guests to dress in their Oscar best. Pass out tiny boxes of movie theater candy.
Patriotic: The man loved his country. Play “Born in the U.S.A.” at the top of the hour. Ask guests to sing along to “God Bless the U.S.A.” Decorate the room with red, white and blue.
Comic book collector: Ask guests to fashion superhero capes to wear to Dad’s celebration. Showcase his collection for everyone to see. Play one of this favorite superhero movies during the reception.
Cyclist: He was dedicated to his bike. Host his memorial at his favorite spin studio. Help the instructor with tunes for a Dad-driven playlist.
Fisherman: Meet at the river and pass out some poles. The peaceful ritual of fishing may be all you need to find comfort. Fry up the afternoon’s catch just like Dad would have done.
Gardner: Serve an alfresco farm-to-table meal that speaks to Dad’s green thumb. Hand out seed packets so others can spread the love.
Golfer: Dress the room in Masters green and put in a putting station. Serve pimento cheese sandwiches and send guests home with personalized golf balls.
Home brewer: He finally perfected his hoppy home brew. Bottle up his last batch and pass it out at his celebration. Pair with brats and a game of darts.
Hunter: If Dad liked to greet sunrise in the woods, deck out a room like a deer blind. Have guests wear camo and hunter orange. Display his trophy buck.
Hockey fan: A night at the rink with Pops was always a blast. Decorate the room in his team’s colors and don’t forget the puck-shaped cookies.
Musician: No family event was complete without Dad on the guitar. Ask his fellow musicians to play at the memorial. Display his instruments for all to see.
Poker player: Host a charitable poker tournament, with all proceeds going to a nonprofit. Play with poker chips personalized with your gamblin’ man’s photo.
Runner: Organize a Saturday morning 5K. End the run with a celebration featuring marathon tales and energy drinks.
Skier: You’ll never forget racing down the slopes with Dad. Follow suit with an après ski theme, complete with hot toddies and hot chocolate.
Tennis player: Don Wimbledon whites for Dad’s memorial. Serve a traditional English tea, complete with scones and cream.
The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed how we live, but perhaps even more heartbreaking, how we are able to grieve. Social distancing has prevented holding funerals or otherwise gathering to mourn the loss of our loved ones, and even a comforting touch or hug isnt safe.Other rituals have been disrupted as well. Jewish and Muslim religions state that there must be a disposition of a persons remains within 24 hours after death, but in many places this is not possible; there are delays as funeral homes, cemeteries and crematories struggle to keep up with the high number of COVD-19 deaths.We mourn the loss of loved ones, and also our many ways of saying goodbye: the Jewish tradition of sitting shiva, the week-long period in which friends and family visit those in mourning to offer condolences and provide comfort that dates back to biblical times; the Irish wake, simultaneously joyful and sad, when people share songs, drinks, and stories about the departed; the Islamic ritual washing of the deceaseds body; and countless others.Not being able to perform rituals [is] devastating for people, said psychologist Noe Kasali, director of the Bethesda Counseling Center. It prolongs their suffering.One family member expressed how unsettling the inability to gather in mourning his fathers passing is: It feels unreal, like it didnt happen.In response, funeral providers, communities, and families are finding alternative ways to be together to honor loved ones who have died.Technology is playing a big part. Mourners are gathering virtually via Zoom and Skype, the free video/audio communications platforms. Families are filming funerals live on Facebook, which allows not only loved ones to take part virtually, but also opens the experience to condolences from many in the shared experience of isolation. Some funeral homes are livestreaming services, so friends and family far away can participate.In a first-person story on cheddar.com, Max Godnick described a funeral held on Zoom for his grandmother, who passed away after complications from COVID-19, as the most meaningful, spiritual, intimate, and inspiring funeral Ive ever been to. The moment encapsulated the best of social media playing out in real-time. I was provided a window into my familys global network of love and support separated by distance but brought together by a single purpose and Zoom grid view.Just like so many other families around the world right now, mine learned just how hard it is to lose a loved one without being able to see them, be with them, or say goodbye in their final days, Godnick said.Others are creating new ways of honoring those theyve lost. In County Kerry, Ireland, neighbors lined the mile-long road from the church to the graveyard to say goodbye to their friend Betty Ryan, careful to maintain safe distance between one another. A beautiful tribute and great example of community spirit, one observer said.Closer to home, in Louisville, KY, a family held a drive-by funeral procession. One by one, cars stopped in front of the home of John Renn Jr. and tossed flowers, held signs at the car windows, and smiled and waved at the family.What a time were living in right now, said Renns nephew, Rick Obst. Everybody needs a hug, but throwing tragedy on top of it? These kinds of celebrations have to be done and can be done. Were trying to set an example, hopefully, of how we can do this the best way and still stay safe from the coronavirus.Many families who may have been debating whether to choose burial or cremation for a loved one are now choosing cremation already the choice of more than half in the US. This gives the option of scheduling a memorial service at a later date; also, in a tightened economy, cost has become a bigger consideration, since cremation is about one-third the price of burial.Its important to find connection in whatever ways you can, said Megan Devine, a therapist, grief advocate, and author. Even starting a text thread with close friends to talk about the person youve lost can be helpful.Other alternative mourning rituals:Talk to people. Reach out to your social support network family and friends through phone calls, emails, and video platforms. While physically separated, staying connected, talking and sharing stories about your loved one, can help alleviate the feeling of being alone in your grief.Create and express. There are so many ways to pay a personal tribute to your loved one, and art is both healing and a release. Write about or to them, or journal about how youre feeling. Cook their favorite meal. Plant a tree or flowers in their memory. Read their favorite book, listen to their favorite music, or watch their favorite movie. On social media, you can create a Facebook or Instagram page dedicated to them, and invite others to contribute or share their memories as well. Do an art or music project that youll be able to share with loved ones when youre together.Plan a memorial service for later. In a time of uncertainty, it can be deeply healing to make plans for what youll do in the future, when youll again be surrounded by family and friends who will join you in honoring this special person. Rather than thinking of a tribute as being canceled, you can use this extra time to plan something special.Ask for help. If youre struggling, there are grief resources you can go to for support. The Dougy Center, Grief.com and Grief Resource Network offer groups and programs; you can also subscribe to the Neptune Societys free bereavement series, 12 Weeks of Peace.Most important, dont deny your grief. Even if, in the time following your loved ones death, you cant mourn and celebrate their life in the way you wish, acknowledge your feelings of loss and sadness. In the midst of this larger crisis, when you may be overwhelmed by fear and anxiety, its not healthy to minimize or dismiss how this personal loss is affecting you. Its okay to cry. We all grieve in different ways, so be true to your own feelings, and ask for the emotional support you need.______________________________________________________________________________________________The Neptune Society is the nations oldest and largest provider of affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan cremation services in advance, we are always available to assist you and your family.Call 1-800-NEPTUNE (800-637-8863) today or contact us online to learn more.
When you experience a loss, people from all periods of your life will be there to help. Whether its old friends, family friends, or anybody else you didnt quite expect, youll want to write them a Thank you note for their assistance. The same goes for those that you knew would be there, like friends that are still around, or other family members. But, it goes without saying, if youve never written a note like this before, it can be tough to put your words to paper. Neptune Society is here to help you in your time of need by providing you with some tips on what to include in a sympathy thank you note, or funeral thank you card. What To Include In A Sympathy Or Funeral Thank You Card Writing a sympathy thank you note, or a funeral thank you card, may be easier than you think. The card and messaging doesnt have to be long its more ideal that its concise. Short and to the point is always more effective than long thank you notes. With all that youre currently experiencing, the last thing you should need to worry about is writing the perfect thank you card for someone whos assisted in the funeral of a loved one. Whats more important is to make this note or card personal. There are a number of reasons you may want to thank someone for help at a funeral. Whether this person provided food for the guests, sent flowers, or was simply there for you, its best to personalize the message accordingly. Not every card need to be personalized. Since most of the cards will be for simply attending the funeral or memorial serve, its fine to include similar phrases for each one. View some of the ideas below, and personalize where applicable. Thank you for attending (I, We) appreciate you attending (loved ones) funeral. Thank you for taking the time to come to (loved ones) funeral. It meant a lot to (us, me) to see you at (loved ones) funeral Thank you for sharing the celebration of (loved ones) life with (me, us). Follow-up (I, we) appreciate the effort you took in traveling such a distance to attend the funeral. The stories and memories you shared about (loved one) were one-of-a-kind. Your presence and words were a comfort for (me, the family) in this time. Your stories about (loved one) were special to us. You lifted our spirits with your words about (loved one). It meant a lot to us to hear how (loved one) touched the lives of others. You meant so much to (loved one) and I can tell (he/she/they) meant a lot to you. Celebrating the life of (loved one) would not have been completed without you. Closing line Your presence meant the world to (me/the family). Your support made a huge difference during this difficult time. Thank you for your words of support. Your kindness/support means more than words can possibly express. (I, the family) will always remember your kindness. You were a true friend to (loved one) and will always be an important part of the family. Now that youve got a few ideas about what to write in your thank you note, you can choose the best way to express your gratitude in just a few lines. Remember, the people on your list for thank you notes are there for a reason. They supported you and your family during a tough time, and they care. Before you go, check out some more general tips on writing your thank you notes.Dont Worry If Time Has Passed Since The Funeral: While its best to get your notes in the mail as soon as possible, people will totally understand if it takes a couple of months. Ask For Help If You Need It: After the funeral, there may be more people to thank than you initially thought. Dont be afraid to ask friends or family members for help. Include Other Family Members In The Signature: If youre sending a thank you note on behalf of the family, signing the card as The family of (loved one) allows the sender to express the gratitude of the whole family. If youre the only one whos been assisted, just sign your own name. Break Up Your List to Make it Manageable: Tackling the entire list at once can be overwhelming. Breaking the work up into manageable chunks or pieces can make it easier to get started, and get it done. Include Your Full Name And The Name Of Your Loved One In The Letter: Be sure to include your last name when thanking those who arent a close friend (for example, the office or workplace of your loved one). This is especially important if youre a bit late on sending out your acknowledgements. Short but Meaningful is the Goal: Creating a simple 1-3 sentence thank you note is the main goal here, and you want to make sure it comes from the heart. Additionally, if you choose to print your notes as opposed to hand-writing them, make sure to include a bit of personalization with a brief note and a signature. Writing A Sympathy Note Doesnt Have To Be Hard Youve dealt with enough turmoil in the past couple of months if youve recently experienced the death of a loved one. This blog post is intended to assist those that are writing a sympathy note for attendance of a funeral and have never done it before. At Neptune Society, we aim to be as helpful as possible, in all aspects, when you experience the death of a loved one. We hope this blog post was of assistance to you in your time of need. ______________________________________________________________________________________________The Neptune Society is the nations oldest and largest provider of affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan cremation services in advance, we are always available to assist you and your family.Call 1-800-NEPTUNE (800-637-8863) today or contact us online to learn more.
Dealing with death is never easy, regardless of your relation to the deceased. If youve been invited to a funeral, the person who invited you looks at you as someone they want around in their time of need whether you were friends with their loved one, or simply a friend to them.One of the reasons dealing with death so challenging is because of the discomfort of not knowing the right thing to say or do when offering condolences. The worst thing you can do is ignore it entirely. Doing nothing, or pretending it didnt happen, is poor etiquette when it comes to the passing of a family friend, colleague, or family member of a friend. What to Say to the Family at a Funeral When attending a funeral, youll likely have multiple opportunities to speak to the family of the deceased, whether during a visitation, viewing, or reception. Feeling being unsure of what to say to the family, and the right time to speak to them, is among the main reasons many of us feel uncomfortable at a funeral. While theres no rule book, the visitation, whether held at a funeral home or the familys home, is a good opportunity to express your condolences. Its best to wait until the funeral service is over to greet the family, unless theyre greeting people before the service. If you arent close with the family, make sure to introduce yourself and explain your relationship to their deceased loved one. Keep your condolences brief, while sincere and heartfelt, as there are likely other people waiting to speak to the family as well. Knowing exactly what to say at a funeral can be the hardest part, but remember that simply speaking to the family is often as important as what you say. Speak from the heart and with kindness: (The deceased) will be greatly missed. Im sorry for your loss.Please accept my deepest condolences for your loss. (The deceased) was a great person, and Ill miss them very much. (He/she) meant a lot to me and everyone else at (the work place.) (He/she) contributed a lot to the company and our team, and (the deceased) will be missed. Its also appropriate to share a happy story about the deceased, but make sure to keep this brief along with the rest of what you have to say to the family. What not to Say to the Family at a Funeral With some ideas of the right things to say at a funeral, also to be aware of some inappropriate remarks to say to family and friends of the deceased at a funeral. Keep in mind this is a very sensitive time for the loved ones of the deceased. Dont be judgmental, tell jokes, or tell that embarrassing story of something the deceased did in the office or among friends. Avoid the following statements: Youll get over it with time. Dont tell a husband or wife that theres plenty of fish in the sea, or any variation of youll meet someone else. Stay away from mentioning any negative interactions you or others may have had with the deceased. Avoid mentioning it if a certain family member isnt crying, or doesnt seem sad. Different people deal with death, especially of a loved one, in different ways. Dont ask how the person died. These questions can often lead to sensitive answers, and you want to be as considerate as possible of the family of the deceased. The main idea of what not to say at a funeral is to be as respectful as possible to the family of the deceased. Be kind, and avoid difficult topics or questions. Even if you didnt have the best relationship with the deceased or their family, its not the appropriate time to bring these up. Leave all your negative feelings of the deceased at home. How to Follow Up After a FuneralDepending on your relationship with the deceased, this section may or may not apply. In most cases, if youve just met the family, it may not be necessary to follow up after the funeral service. But if youre a family friend, employer, or had a close relationship with the deceased, keep the following things in mind for after the funeral service: Stay in touch with the family. Being there for them when they need someone to talk to or require help that the deceased could have provided is the best thing you can do. Make sure you let them know youre there when theyre ready. Remember birthdays and anniversaries of the death of the deceased. In the weeks following the death, offer to help with simple tasks such as cleaning, cooking, or doing chores around the house. If appropriate, and after discussing with the family, find out about support groups for bereaved parents or children, and set up a time for the family to discuss with the group leads. Send cards even up to six months after the death. Letting the family know youre still thinking about them and the deceased is one of the nicest gestures you can make. Praise the bereaved for even small accomplishments that indicate they are moving forward, even in their time of mourning. As mentioned earlier, people grieve in different ways. Depression is very common for those who have experienced the death of a loved one; encouraging and supporting them can be inspiring and motivating.If you have to ask whether a gesture is appropriate, it may not be. But, if youre a close friend or acquaintance of the family, these gestures may be something that can be deeply reassuring. Being there for those going through grief is the best thing you can do. ______________________________________________________________________________________________The Neptune Society is the nations oldest and largest provider of affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan cremation services in advance, we are always available to assist you and your family.Call 1-800-NEPTUNE (800-637-8863) today or contact us online to learn more.