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Funerals Should be Medicine for the Caregiver
If the deceased was not religious, a
member of the clergy may not be the best choice for an
officiator. There are many professional speakers
capable of composing services that could be more
meaningful. Sometimes a group of family members
and friends may best express how to remember someone.
When using multiple speakers, it is wise to select a
master of ceremonies to weave together all of the
elements presented. Also, with groups of speakers,
impress on each one the need for brevity.
Otherwise, the service can become repetitious and
The incorporation of music is another
way to reflect the deceased. Whether using live
musicians or compact discs, music can remind us vividly
of the person we’ve lost. Choose a style of music,
favorite songs or favorite singer. Any of these can
touch us deeply. Keep in mind that the selections
do not need to be mournful dirges.
Food often reminds us of people we have
known. Something as simple as passing out ice cream bars
at the service of someone who was known for her ice
cream socials can awaken a sweet memory. Caterers
can make serving food easier and expand the range of
options available. Remember that even the smell of
certain foods can remind us of people.
Displaying photographs is another way we
can remember the deceased. Whether mounted on boards,
shown in a video montage or displayed around the room in
frames, photos provide the opportunity to show people as
they would want to be remembered. Always try to select a
range of photographs sharing the full life he/she had.
Weaving the elements described here can
create a meaningful service that can be a source of
great comfort and resolution for those who are left
behind. Many of the ideas suggested here add little or
no cost to the service and will result in a precious
is the founder of Mandel Funeral Services of Northern
California. They specialize in planning personalized
funeral services. To ease the planning process, they go
to the family’s home for the funeral arrangements. They
have special settings for funerals available throughout
Northern California. Daniel Mandel worked in Chicago for
25 years before coming to California in July of 2006.
He can be reached at (866) 962-6335 or