A funeral is a tradition. It is a way to honour a person’s life and allow mourners to remember, share memories and say their final goodbyes. But what if the person who has passed away asked not to have a funeral?
That sentiment might seem strange to many; not wanting a funeral; as a funeral seems a natural follow-on to someone’s death. However, some people just don’t like the thought of their loved ones having to go through the additional stress of planning and putting together a funeral on their behalf.
Other reasons we have heard people say (for not wanting a funeral) are they feel it is a waste of money. For some, it’s a waste of time and energy for those left behind. And some people are just not comfortable with the idea of mourning at funeral, in general. Regardless of the reason behind not wanting a funeral, it can be a difficult one to honor.
This leads to many questions…
Should a deceased person’s wish(es) always be carried out, exactly to the letter? And what about those left behind, if they want to mourn. How do they begin the grieving process without the closure of a funeral or memorial? If someone decides they do not want a funeral (and you are made aware), when is the right time to say ‘goodbye’?
So, to the point…
What if someone has requested ‘no funeral’? Does there have to be one?
It is not mandatory to hold a funeral service for someone deceased.
A wish or request by a loved one for ‘no funeral’ can be hard for family, friends and close loved ones to accept (and understand). Many people feel it natural to remember a loved one prior to burying or cremation.
However, in some cases, the person who has passed away may be so advanced in age they have outlived those who may have attended, anyway. Some people also appreciate that not having a funeral is a good way to avoid expensive funeral costs and that they can mourn individually.
Some things to consider…
We believe, as do many, that honouring someone’s wishes is of great importance. As a wider society, and with our loved ones, we help to ease the fear of death through the reassurance that someone’s wishes will be honoured, in death.
We assure our loved ones we will honour their memory through carrying out their wishes; such as taking care of their dependants and protecting their assets.
People leave verbal and written wishes on all considerations. This is why we felt so compelled to create My Last Request; to make recording your wishes easy. Find out more about a My Last Request subscription here. It is morally and ethically important to keep our promises to the dead (or not make them). Providing those promises are reasonable and possible (not causing harm to others), it is important to honour wishes someone has made in good faith.
Another thing to consider if you are struggling with the concept of a loved one requesting no funeral, is that funerals are actually for the living. By this we mean that a funeral does not benefit them. It is a ‘gift’ (so to speak) to their legacy; paying tribute to their life in the form of a funeral service.
You can still mourn the deceased without a funeral…
We completely understand and appreciate both perspectives. And, if in spite of your loved ones wishes to not have a funeral you would still like a memorial service, there are other options. Whatever you choose to do, remember to not ignore your grief. No funeral does not mean you snap back to normal and everyday life and business just resumes. You will still need to work through your bereavement and gain emotional support to help you through the process.
Host a small gathering…
If your loved one has requested ‘no funeral’ you can still host a private gathering (if you wish). Why not consider assembling those who you are close to and who was close to the deceased, to share memories, raise a toast to their life and support one-another emotionally. This can serve as a low-key alternative to a funeral or larger memorial.
Create a memorial you can visit…
Being able to visit a tombstone or a place where ashes have been laid, can serve as a great comfort to those left behind. If there is no tombstone or such place, why not create your own memorial or place to remember your loved one? We have clients who have chosen to have a rose bush in their garden in memory, or a plaque on a bench where their loved one liked to sit. You can create a permanent memorial to your loved one, giving you a way to publicly show your love for them and their life, and also provide comfort for yourself.
How do I record my funeral wishes?
My Last Request will give you the opportunity to detail your exact funeral wishes without the difficultly of discussing it with your family; something we all may find hard to do.
As well as recording your funeral wishes you will also be able to store photos and any personal video messages for your family and friends. You can also include information about the location of your original Will.
You can easily record and keep safe any other important information too; such as where your will is kept, or letting people know a list of people and organisations that you would like to be notified when you pass.
By recording your funeral wishes on My Last Request you will have the peace of mind that your wishes will be known and honoured.
In addition, if your wishes change over time, you can change them (as many times as you like) by simply logging on to your My Last Request account. Unlike amending your will, there are no costs for making amendments.