Post # 1
My mother recently passed away, and though there will be a formal funeral soon in the state where my parents moved after they retired, my mom asked me before she died to have a memorial service in her home state (where I live) so all her old friends that can’t travel would still be able to grieve. It will essentially be a gathering to celebrate her life.
The problem is, I don’t exactly know what the event should look like, since there won’t be a burial or anything ritual like that. Planning with my mom’s best friends, we’ve figured out it will be in an indoor park shelter next to a river (it has a fireplace, tables and chairs for 80, a kitchenette, and restrooms). I figured I’d ask a few people to prepare some words and bring in some food, but otherwise, I have no clue what the event should entail. It feels like there should be some central ritual, but I don’t know what.
So tell me, Bees, can you put your event-planning superpowers to work? What sort of “ritual” might you include? One of my mom’s friends suggested wish lanterns, but even though I found some that biodegrade and don’t have the wire, I’m not sure about the fire risk.
Post # 3
Would the wish lanterns fly away into the sky, or float down the river? If they floated down the river, the fire risk would diminish, you’d just have to find some biodegradable, floaty lanterns.
Another idea could be wish balloons in your mom’s favorite colors. Wouldn’t have to worry about fire that way.
Post # 4
I’m sorry to hear about your loss, you have my condolences.
Typically a memorial service would have some mix of songs/music, readings, eulogy/sermon/reflection, and possibly prayers (depending on the deceased’s religious tradition or lack thereof). Many of them follow something like the following organization:
– Opening song or hymn, followed by a welcome and possibly an opening prayer.
– Possibly an opportunity for attendees to share favorite memories of the deceased?
– Closing rites (for example, a prayer followed by a song, etc.)
There is lots of flexibility, of course, to tailor this to the person and their/your preferences. If music was important to them or an important part of their faith tradition, you can easily include more songs. (For example, many Christian services include a sung Psalm with the readings.) If you want to incorporate something like releasing lanterns, doves, etc., that can be worked in as well.