Funerals are generally regarded as a sorrowful affair, replete with much crying, gnashing of teeth and hysterical proclamations by widowers of their desire to join the dead partner. Funeral homes characteristically craft their services to reflect the grief of the surviving family members of the deceased. Typical elements present in traditional funerals are the muted and sad-looking design of funeral homes, subdued aesthetics, faces of grief, predominantly black clothes, and somber music.
Fortunately for the more open-minded ones, a few funeral homes have introduced new options and innovations. These establishments dare to go against the norm and opt to customized services based on the family’s preferences. And though this is not yet widely accepted and commonly practiced, some establishments have so far executed quite a few funerals with imaginative themes. The families who had the sense to avail of the themed service were all too pleased that they have decided to do so.
Some samples can be seen below. And some of these themes can get really fun.
During the eulogy of one horseman, his equine stood by the side of his casket. The animal stood as a remembrance of this man’s passion and how much he loved its company.
In another instance, the family of a deceased avid gardener chose a 10-by-5 foot tomato plot as the burial ground. This too was representative of this person’s passion.
A self-proclaimed couch potato who was cremated specified that his urn be placed on a hedge shaped like a recliner.
Other grieving families display some possessions of the deceased during the viewing. These possessions are reflective of how the dead lived their lives, some going as far as bringing in a motorcycle and a grill with plastic lobsters.
Some funeral establishments have also done their part in changing their business’s image, giving way to a lighter approach to funerals in general one small step at a time. One funeral home for instance has installed a 35,000-gallon fish tank to neutralize the somber look that is usually associated with these affairs. Funeral homes don’t have to be sad and scary places where one gets the overpowering and lingering sorrow that death leaves in its wake.
Yet another funeral home is looking at the possibility of having funerals in other non-traditional venues such as a football field for deceased football fanatics or a community theatre for theatre buffs or a golf course for avid golfers, believing that these are not such far-fetched ideas.
It’s a whole new attitude and approach to death. Quirky as these ideas are, they are effective nonetheless. They serve their utmost purpose which is to give a proper farewell to a loved one who has passed. These do not disrespect the dead by any means, what it does, if anything, is dilute the pain and shift the focus to what is important.
Life is meant to be celebrated, much in death as in life. And there is no better way to remind the survivors of this by reinforcing that their dead departed had a life that he had lived in this manner – these are possessions that mattered to him, the things he most enjoyed doing, the places that meant something to him, the people that he had loved, his passions and pretty much what gave his life meaning.
What is important in these themed funerals is for them to reflect, celebrate and showcase the life of the deceased. They should be reflective of him and considerate of how he would want his funeral done. Survivors of the deceased would benefit with an open mind in determining the manner that the service is to be conducted, with the recognition that life is meant to be celebrated, and the funeral is the last time that this right is afforded to the deceased. It is great that there are funeral homes that offer this service.
Gentry Griffey is the only funeral home in Knoxville that offer funeral homes services that are completed on-site by our professional and licensed staff. Funeral homes offer funeral services in packages or plans.