Time has helped evolve customs and rituals the most lasting ones have proven to offer the most comfort and support. The funeral is the final opportunity for family and friends to publicly express their love and respect for the deceased. If it is arranged carefully and sensitively so that it expresses the feelings and fulfills the needs of everyone attending, it can be enormously beneficial in helping people come to terms with their loss.
The funeral represents the first and most important step towards working through one's grief and readjusting to life. Its significant therapeutic value is widely recognised. From a practical point of view, the funeral ensures the legal, reverent and dignified burial or cremation of the deceased.
The funeral director's role is to make all the relevant arrangements prior to conducting the funeral. The funeral director works with the minister or celebrant to ensure that any of the family's special requests (e.g. regarding music, flowers, photos, candles) have been met by the time of the funeral service.
The funeral director will discuss with family members about whether they would like an audiovisual presentation. The funeral director will also arrange for the collection of photos and the music to be used. The minister or celebrant is ultimately responsible for what happens in the funeral ceremony itself. This usually involves working with family members to:
- Plan the format of the funeral service;
- Decide who will deliver the eulogy - family member(s) or a close personal friend;
- Select music, reading or poetry for during the service;
- Decide on the use of other symbols such as candles, flowers and photos as required;
- Discuss the content of the printed service sheets; and
- Schedule the audiovisual presentation (if any) in the service.
When to hold the funeral is entirely up to you. Some people believe three days after death is the correct timing; however, in law there is no set time. Given the many matters to consider in arranging a modern funeral, it is not uncommon for a funeral to be held five to seven days after death. If necessary it can be held later still to allow people coming from overseas to attend. It is far better not to rush the planning of a funeral. Allowing more time helps you to make clearer decisions. When people are rushed they may forget or overlook matters, leading to regrets afterwards.
The Dunedin and Otago region is home to many different cultures and religions. We have established strong relationships over many years with a wide range of community groups, so you can be assured that we will do everything we can to accommodate your own community practices and protocols. Given that many of these community groups are small, we have often become good friends as well as the trusted funeral directors.