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Old 03-30-2015, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
This weekend, we attended yet another funeral, where the pastor quite obviously had no real relationship with the deceased. Several of our friends have recently begun attending church, after years away, and I have an inkling it might be because they are thinking ahead, even though we are all in our 50s.

But, my husband and I don't want to go that route. We don't want any religious ceremony at all. If he goes before me though, I would like some sort of gathering in his honor, just not at a funeral home, as we both want a simple cremation.

I'm sure we can't be the only people who don't want to resort to a church service, but I've never been to a non-religious funeral, and I can't quite figure out how to make our wishes known, or what a meaningful goodby ceremony would entail.

I'm not sure this is the right forum, but if anybody has any experience in the area, I'd like your thoughts.

Tell the funeral home of your choice what you want, they are generally non religious.
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Old 03-30-2015, 09:01 AM
Location: Middle Tennessee
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My 102 year old mother passed away last month. We had a small service at the funeral home chapel. Eight family members and three friends. I had asked for someone from her church (she was a devoted long time member) to come to say a few words. No one ever showed up or even called to say they wouldn't be coming, after they said they would.

So we went with a plan B we had in mind in case they didn't show. My wife sang a couple of hymns and read a scripture, I spoke a bit about her life and my niece, one of the friends and the funeral home director said a few words. It took about 15-20 minutes for everything.

It actually turned out rather nice. Kind of glad the church person didn't show.
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Old 03-30-2015, 09:06 AM
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The funeral home will have a chapel, and they will work with you to do as little or as much as you want.
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Old 03-30-2015, 09:23 AM
Location: Columbia SC
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My wife and I have donated our bodies to the local medical college. They remove the remains within 24 hours of death. They have a once a year memorial service for those that have done such.

In our case, the remaining spouse will have a memorial party (not a religious service) a week or so later. If for me no religion. If for my wife I will have someone say a few religious words as her family would want that.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by jghorton View Post
...From this side of the pulpit, I can tell you that it is difficult to conduct services for someone that one didn't know ... and almost impossible to conduct a meaningful service for someone who had no faith relationship with God. But, funeral/memorial services are more for those left behind, than the deceased - and one tries to provide as much comfort and truth as possible...without pretending that everyone automatically goes to heaven....
I can imagine how difficult it is. And I have had two completely opposite experiences in using clergy who did not know the deceased, both were Episcopalians ministering in the same church in a large city.

The first would only accept doing the service, he said, if he really felt he knew enough about the person. He sat and talked with a good friend of the deceased for part of an afternoon, and since the fellow wrote children's books, he asked for the loan of several.

He gave the most beautiful and personal funeral service I have ever attended, and he very forthrightly based it on his process of try to know the deceased mostly through his own books. It was wonderful.

Another service in that same church, with different clergy did not go so well. The clergyman was quite content (and I mean this positively) to leave most of the eulogy to three friends, who gave short, personal ones. However, one of these quoted a non-Christian religious story - one about death, but which did not contradict Christian beliefs. The clergyman then rebuked the person to the shock and puzzlement of the mourners, and rushed through the rest of the service and dashed off into the vestry without a word to parents of the deceased.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:08 AM
Location: Chicago area
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OMG I do not want anyone looking at my remains. I want to be cremated immediately and placed next to the urns of my dog's, cat's, and pot belly pig. There will be an open house at our house with lots of pictures, videos and funny stories. I do not want any tears, only laughter, good food and drink. Miss me for a little while but focus on the fun times more. I would like that.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by LivingDeadGirl View Post
I've been to all sorts of "funerals" and even bellydanced (middle eastern performer here) funerals. Some folks have a large party outdoors as a celebration. I say do what you think your friends would enjoy as a memorial to you without being too morbid. And if you are spiritual, have someone say something that if you are a ghost hovering nearby, it would convince you that you are indeed dead, and need to move on.
Well, if I were that ghost hovering nearby and I wanted to hover a bit, I'd give that spiritual yahoo the worst case of piles the world of medicine has ever seen. The nerve! I'm already dead, and now you're telling me to blow off so you all can send out for pizza.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:39 AM
Location: Chicago
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My mom has been saying for years that she wants to be cremated and doesn't want a big wake or funeral. So, we will most likely have a party at someone's house or a venue if we can find one that is nice and won't break the bank. Pretty much any time someone we know passes she brings up her wishes.
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Old 03-30-2015, 11:15 AM
Location: Orlando
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Just FYI: there's a lot of discussion about these matters on the Grief and Mourning forum too.
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Old 03-30-2015, 01:14 PM
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I'm glad to know I'm not alone in trying to think this all out. I was reluctant to ask on the grief forum, because hopefully my husband and I have another 30 yrs or so before we have to implement our goodbyes.

I like the idea of holding a memorial at a park, or maybe a restaurant. If we still live near our current home, there is a "green" cemetery in town, that accepts ashes or non-embalmed remains, but we are reluctant to purchase spaces, since we aren't sure where we'll be living down the road.

If my husband goes first, he is happy to leave it all up to me. If I do, I have a strong feeling my family, who are mostly still practicing Catholics, would be upset at the lack of a service. I want it all spelled out in our will so there is no misunderstanding.
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