Why We Need Funerals

Death is a natural and inevitable part of life… yet when it comes, death shakes our community to its foundation.  The world we know has changed.  Going forward, nothing will be the same.

Funerals perform a rite of passage, for both the deceased and the survivors.  In the midst of the confusion and grief, they create a certain amount order and control.  We publicly recognize what has happened.  We share our loss together.  We begin the process of healing.

At its most basic, funerals give us a safe place to:

  • Acknowledge the reality of the loss
  • Confront and share the pain of grief
  • Honor the person who has died
  • Reflect on the meaning of life
  • Give and receive emotional support



Funerals honor the deceased and usher them out of this life.  It is our formal and publicly acknowledged leave-taking.

Each of us leaves a mark on the people we knew and the world we lived in.  While a funeral service can’t capture everything, the more facets of a person we bring to light, the more clearly we understand and appreciate what they left us.  After a personalized funeral, attendees often say that they acquired a more complete portrait of the person.

Through the funeral service, we establish the substance of the deceased, tell their story, and inventory our loss.



Funerals are typically inconvenient; we seldom receive a “save the date” ahead of time.  But without a doubt, the most supportive thing you can do for those who are grieving is to simply show up.  We are social beings, and we need each other.  To be present, in person, is still best.

Funerals gather the mourners in and help them relate to each other’s loss as well as their own.  It brings those grieving most strongly into contact with the wider community.  They see the ripple effect of their loved one’s life, receive the support of their community and with this reinforcement, are started on the new path ahead.



Funerals place the brackets around a life and provide a mechanism for transition.  Through this ritual, we collectively acknowledge the end of the deceased’s time here and the beginning of a new existence for the survivors.  We affirm membership in our community and share our common experience.

Funeral services give the extended community a place to honor the deceased, to reflect on what that life meant, and to say farewell.


When you tell the story, share your loss, and let others share their loss with you, the process of healing begins.