Funeral, Memorial, or Celebration?


Technically, funerals and memorials are not the same.  A funeral is a service where the deceased’s body is present and a memorial is any service held without the body. A ceremony after cremation is therefore considered a memorial service (regardless of whether or not the cremated remains are present).  Many people, however, use the two terms interchangeably.


Celebration of life is a relatively new term.  There is little distinction between a celebration of life and a memorial service, though the emphasis is on the life lived rather than the loss.  Some funerals easily lend themselves to humor and celebration – at the end of a long, full life, for example.  Many families can honestly say, “He would have wanted a party”.


While every service has elements that celebrate life, few are entirely celebratory. Remembrances should embrace the range of emotions; laughter and tears both have their place.  My services – whether funerals, memorials, and/or celebrations – will reflect the circumstances and tone or framing you request.