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Direct Cremation - Ways to Say “Farewell”

The concept of marking someone’s death with a goodbye ritual has been around for 1,000s of years. Why? There is an argument that a funeral ritual serves two purposes. Of course, it is about the person who has died, but it is also an important rite of passage for the loved ones left behind. Being part of the ritual of farewell provides an element of closure to allow the process of grieving to move forward.

What we consider a traditional funeral in the UK (with a burial or cremation) has been established since the Victorian times. The long-established customs with the coffin, a service and a committal fulfil the dual purpose of remembering the deceased and providing closure for the living.

Direct (Simple) Cremations are becoming more popular. For some, a Direct Cremation is ideal. Because it is a streamlined model of funeral with no service, mourners generally are not able to attend the crematorium, they may know the date, but not the time or crematoria that is being used. The farewell element of the funeral is completely lost.

What if you feel that you want to do something to say that important “farewell”? Well, you can. A Direct Cremation doesn’t prevent you from devising your own personal goodbye. It can be as formal or informal as you want and when you feel ready. There is absolutely no rush so you can take the time to create the perfect farewell event. It may take several months to process your loss and decide what will work best for you. There are lots of options to suit all budgets.

Here are some ideas:

  • Hold a gathering on the day of the cremation (some funeral directors have on site chapels or meeting rooms);

  • Hold a Memorial or Celebration of Life Service;

  • Have an informal get together at home, or a favourite place;

  • Throw a party in honour of your loved one;

  • Have a ceremony to scatter the ashes or have them interred;

  • Hold a Grief Mandala – a personalised farewell ritual;

  • Have Memorial Keepsakes made from the ashes – perhaps jewellery, paperweights, or cuddle stones;

  • Plant some seeds or flowers in a special place;

  • Dedicate a tree, a seat, or some other memorial.

  • You have a free rein to design what you want, the when, how, and where. (Ashes ceremonies may need permission from the landowner.)

If you know you want some sort of farewell or are thinking about one, you can contact a funeral celebrant. The celebrant will have the knowledge and skills to talk you through different ideas to help you make the right choice. If you want help structuring the content of your event and /or want someone to lead it the celebrant will be happy to provide these services.

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