Dealing with the aftermath of a loved one's death is difficult, and a memorial service is one of the many options available to help you honor their memory, express your grief, and move forward with the healing process. Although this type of service is fairly popular, many people do not understand the distinction between a memorial and a funeral service. Unlike funeral services, memorials are held without the deceased's body being present.
When Are Services Typically Held?
Unlike funerals, there is no commonly held time frame for memorial services. Since the deceased's body need not be present, you are free to hold the service at any time you would like. Many people choose to hold services in the days or weeks following the funeral, but this is not in any way a requirement. For some people, this may be far too soon, and they may still be dealing with the worst parts of their grief. In this case, holding the memorial weeks or months later is perfectly acceptable, and the extra distance may provide a better perspective for honoring the life of your loved one rather than focusing on their passing.
In some cases, it may be helpful to choose a date that has particular meaning to you or that held special meaning for the deceased. This could be a birthday, a wedding anniversary, or any other date that is special. Not only is this a way to offer respect for your loved one, but it can also provide a huge amount of emotional support on a day that may otherwise be trying. Some people even choose to wait until the first anniversary of their loved one's passing before holding a memorial.
Do Memorials Have To Be Spiritual Or Religious?
There is no right or wrong way to hold a memorial, and most funeral homes will be happy to work with you to create a service that fits your needs. If you or the deceased were religious then it is entirely appropriate to hold a religious service, but otherwise secular services are perfectly acceptable.
In some cases, a secular service may help to place the focus entirely on your loved one's life. These services can be a great opportunity to share stories, read poems or excerpts from books that were important to the deceased, and otherwise find ways to celebrate who they were in life. This type of service can be particularly moving if it is held a significant time after the death, as those in attendance will have had time to reflect on their loss.
Can You Hold A Memorial Instead Of A Funeral?
The grieving process is unique for everyone, and there are a variety of reasons why you may choose not to hold a funeral service. If you are responsible for carrying out the final wishes of your loved one, then it is no one else's place to question your decisions in these matters. If you feel that a memorial is more appropriate than a funeral, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing that route.