If someone close to you has recently passed away, you may be in the process of making funeral arrangements. Typically, the first choice you will have to make will be between having a religious funeral which is hosted in a place of worship or having a secular funeral at a local funeral home. Below is a guide to 3 things you should consider. Considering these things will help you to work out which option is best for you, the deceased and their surviving family and friends.
Did the deceased leave any instructions?
Many people are now preparing for their own deaths by leaving instructions behind which detail how they wish to be laid to rest. Sometimes, these instructions may only specify the location or the method. However, in other cases, you may be able to unearth detailed instructions which specify a colour mourners should wear and even the music which should be played during the funeral service. Instructions may be left in the person's will, in their private papers or may have verbally communicated to a close relative. If the deceased person has made a clear choice, you should respect their wishes.
Was the deceased a religious person?
If the deceased has left no instructions, you should ask yourself if the deceased was a religious person. While many people are brought up to follow a particular faith, this doesn't mean that they remained religious until the end of their life. You should ask people who knew the deceased well before making a judgement. If the deceased was an atheist, you should consider a secular funeral service at a funeral home. If the deceased still practised their faith, you should consider using a place of worship for the funeral service.
What are the wishes of other family members?
Finally, you will need to consider the wishes of the close family. Although the deceased may not have had a strong faith or may have even been openly hostile to religion, there may be times when you should still consider opting for a service in a place of worship rather than a funeral home. For example, if the older family members are very religious, they may be offended if their loved one is buried or cremated without the funeral rights of their religion being performed. The anger generated will only increase their grief. However, if you do not feel comfortable making plans for the funeral to take place in a religious building, you could compromise by asking a priest or holy person to bless the coffin during a service at your local funeral home.