A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
Please share your experiences, your ideas. Not just for services: but for anniversaries, later dates, and others. Ritual, party, wake? Memorial dinner?
People are always looking for ideas about how to include little kids in memorial rituals and celebrations.
All of this is wide open -- but we have to look for it -- because those of us in the US are so religiously diverse. Those of us with few traditions may be stymied -- others may relish finding what works best for their family.
But the traditional ceremonies of each culture are totally worth sharing, too. What works? What's magical? How did it all go for your family?
What was the significance? Most importantly, what did you eat?
You can share photos and video, here, too.
I want to share a bit about Philip's memorial service. We both were in the choir at our church, and it is kind of a silly little thing all the choir members do, if we really like an anthem or hymn, we'll say, "Oh, I want this one at my funeral." So, the choir members pretty much have their music chosen.
When I went in to meet with the staff to arrange Philip's service, I already knew what I wanted. I went right down the list. The priests and the choir director kept smiling. I finally asked, "What?"
They said they were used to people not having any idea, except for maybe one or two hymns, but I had the whole service down, bible readings, to final hymn.
I dreaded the service. I figured it would be the worst day of my life. My beloved husband gone, except for whatever was in that little brass jar, me in the front pew, trying to hold it together. It would be awful.
The moment came. The priest walked me in. I was shocked. The pews were nearly empty. Where were all our friends?
Fr. David knew what I was thinking. He leaned over and whispered to me, "They're all in the loft."
Everyone who had ever sung in the choir, past or present, plus people from two community choral groups that Philip and I had belonged to came to sing at his service. The choir loft was packed!
It was glorious. I was so proud. You know, I didn't shed a tear. I loved my church family and my husband so much at that moment. And, I never felt more loved, and more supported.
Supa, I love you. Because you posted the Modern Mourner link on Facebook, I checked it out and found this. It's perfect. We played Viking Horns at his funeral and Cliff and I both wanted a viking funeral for him (clearly that's not allowed in the UK these days!) but this means that he gets it. I've contacted the company to ask them prices.
I love it.
We're not a religious family at all, so there wasn't anything religious for our one year "celebration". I took the kids to Florida for two weeks for our vacation of a lifetime. We were so busy on vacation that I didnt get a balloon on the actual date, but on the day after. Now I know we aren't religious, but we still released a balloon for him with our messages on it. It was just symbolic for us mostly.
I don't know what we will do this year when we hit the two year mark. I'll probably do something special, but I dont know what. Knowing my late husband, he wouldn't care if we did or did not do anything lol.
On July 16 my family, friends and I plan to take boats out on the river and scatter Keith's ashes where he swam as a child. He has told us all many times that as a kid he would jump on the cream boats that used the river during the war years and when the boat was half way across he would jump off and swim back to the bank. July 15 would have been his 81st birthday and this is the closest Saturday when we can all get together.
We will also scatter flowers on the water, mid winter here though so flowers will be limited to what we can get on the day. My daughter and I are in the process of planning the day along with my friends who have the boats. After we intend to come back to the house and have a barbeque. We had one for his 80th birthday last year, so that is a tradition that the family will continue to mark his birthday every year. Not sure what we will do to mark the anniversary of his death, that one will be hard because it is also our Wedding Anniversary. Any ideas would be welcome.
On Michael's birthday last year (the first without him) I walked to St. Patrick's Cathedral and went to Mass which was somewhat bizarre because I'm a non-practicing Catholic. But I was raised in Catholic schools and church and for some reason I went over to St. Patricks. I know they have mass every day and I work in Rockefeller Center. It was amazingly comforting. I don't know why. Both of us were raised Catholic but neither of us practiced and his service was non-religious. I plan to go again this year.
We are going to be doing our first commemoration as a family this coming weekend. Michael died of a brain tumor and we are walking/running in the Race for Hope in DC. May is brain tumor month and Michael's birth month is May.
So we decided to go to DC, do the Race, visit the Wall on Saturday (he was a Vietnam Vet), have dinner on Sat night and talk about him and toast to him and do the Race on Sunday. I also volunteered at the Race and hope to make connections to be part of the community raising money for brain cancer.
I am still wondering what to do on the 2nd anniversary in August. I didn't do much last year as I was plastered to the bed in debilitating grief but want to do something this year.
Who cares what others think Amanda. It is what works for you and the little ones. I think it's a nice way for you to spend those special days. That is a lovely tradition to institute and if the little ones love it why not do it.
I LOVE that idea! What a wonderful way for you and your children to celebrate him!