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Can I Have a Funeral Without the Body? Some Practical Ideas

A funeral without the body present happens more often than you might think. It seems that many families, friends, and loved-ones holding funerals today don’t involve an actual physical burial. If there is a burial, it tends to be held privately at another time and place with just family present.

As there may be no actual physical body to bury due to death-related circumstances like disappearances, natural disasters, car accidents, and other circumstances, those dealing with unconventional losses are turning to memorial services rather than traditional funerals. With cremation, a burial service isn’t required and memorial services tend to be a little less traditional as well.

Having a funeral without a burial isn’t unusual, but knowing how to celebrate a life this way can be tricky. Below are some ideas.

Funeral Services without a Body

Funerals without a burial are handled in a similar manner to memorial services. The service can be held at a funeral home in a room set aside for family members and friends. Sometimes these services include photographs or videos of the person being honored, so family and friends are able to see the person throughout their natural life one last time.

Families can participate in the funeral memorial by putting together photo montages, collages or timeline displays of pictures and captions of their loved one, or they may set up a funeral memorial table with a collection or assortment of favorite things from their family member’s work and personal life.

Achievement Memorials

This kind of memorial service would focus on the contributions and achievements that the deceased made during his or her lifetime, perhaps with family and friends speaking of the goals the person achieved and how others benefited and were blessed by the person’s presence.

The memorial could be held at one of the person’s favorite places, such as a park, mountain retreat, beach area, or even a favorite restaurant or friend’s home. If the outdoors were a big part of their life, bio-burial options for ashes and remains could be a good option as part of the ceremony. Friends and relatives could arrange a special luncheon or dinner at any one of these places and set up a memorial table with expressive quotes or sayings concerning the crowning achievements of their loved one. There could even be a balloon launch with the written words inserted in the balloons with a sendoff after the memorial.

Church Memorials

Church memorials are usually held in the home church of the deceased several weeks after the passing of the individual. If the church sanctuary is not used, a fellowship hall or other appropriate location within the church is used for a life celebration. There is no set format for a memorial service, though prayers, scriptures, music selections, short sermons, homilies and spoken words from family members and friends are often given.

A photo display is often put at the entrance to the sanctuary that shows the high points of the person’s life. A luncheon or dinner for family, friends and other church members is frequently held after the memorial.

Wake Celebrations

A variation of a memorial would be a wake celebration, which can be used as a means of honoring an individual in spite of a burial not being part of the gathering. A wake is usually a party and celebration for the deceased to give them a proper send-off and keep them moving in the right “heavenly” direction. It is not a somber type of memorial, but it can be a way of remembering a person who would have wanted and liked a happy sendoff rather than a sad and gloomy goodbye.

Whether a funeral or a memorial, any joining of families and friends is a reunion or coming together of those who want to honor the deceased, and it isn’t necessary to include a burial as part of the service, particularly when the person is presumed dead and there is no body for burial, or other circumstances suggest that a burial will occur at a later time. A memorial can serve as a means of closure which helps family and friends to accept and deal with the loss and continue on with life.

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Can I be planted as a tree when I die?

It’s a question we get all the time… “Can I be planted as a tree when I die?”

You’ve heard about this idea, and you’re intrigued. But will it work for you? Is it easy to do? What are the requirements, the regulations, the holdups, the costs, the prep? How does it work? Do you have to send out your remains – or those of your loved one? Does it only work with cremation? Or can you do full-body burial? What kinds of trees are available? How much actual work is involved?

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Continue reading Can I be planted as a tree when I die?

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2017 Funeral Trends

2017 Funeral Trends

As the new year kicks off, here are the 2017 Funeral Trends of note. At the end you’ll find some tips (for both consumers and funeral professionals) to make the most of these trends in making final arrangements, planning funerals, and hosting memorial services. Continue reading 2017 Funeral Trends

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10 Best Books of 2016 about Funerals, Death, & Grief

Books for funeral industry professionals

In no particular order, here are our picks for the 10 best books of 2016 about funerals, death, and grief. Continue reading 10 Best Books of 2016 about Funerals, Death, & Grief

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How to Get Amazing Online Reviews for Your Funeral Home

How do you get amazing online reviews for your funeral home? Well, it should go without saying that you must provide professional, premium quality services with a sense of dignity and respect. You should be timely, friendly, and welcoming. Be true to your word, and avoid catastrophes.

Competitive pricing can help but is not always the biggest factor. A wide range of products and services are also nice, but again, not always a must (think of Chipotle and the single-dish restaurant phenomenon).

So what does it take to start getting online reviews for your funeral home or mortuary? Here’s what you need to know. Continue reading How to Get Amazing Online Reviews for Your Funeral Home

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5 Ways You Can Plant a Tree in Memory of a Loved One

Planting a tree to honor the memory of a loved one – family member, friend, pet – is a beautiful tribute with significant and life-affirming symbolism. We’re always on the lookout for creative and unique “living memorials” and eco-friendly funeral and memorial options (see here, here, herehere, and here for a few examples), so we’ve had a chance to gather plenty of ideas. Check out these 5 ways you can plant a tree in memory of a loved one.  Continue reading 5 Ways You Can Plant a Tree in Memory of a Loved One

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6 Lovely DIY Memorial Candle Projects

Candles for memorial service DIY

Candles are a great addition to memorial services, reception table centerpieces, or home memorial displays. For the crafty do-it-yourself-er, here are 6 lovely DIY memorial candle projects that you can pull off quickly and easily at a minimal cost. Continue reading 6 Lovely DIY Memorial Candle Projects

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Mailbag: Can Ashes Be Put In a Tree?

Can ashes be put in a tree?

Our Birdhouse Scattering Urns present a creative way to scatter ashes and honor your loved one’s memory. They are designed to hold the remains and be used as a scattering urn, then, after the scattering, the urn transforms into a birdhouse so that you can hang it in a tree as a sort of ‘living memorial‘ tribute that will provide a home for birds.

Recently, a reader wrote in to ask if these urns will work for hanging the ashes of a loved on in a tree. Continue reading Mailbag: Can Ashes Be Put In a Tree?

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This Unique Urn Turns Into a Bird House After Scattering

Scattering Urn that Turns into a Bird House

This is a one-of-a-kind memorial and cremation urn. These solid wood scattering urns are designed to securely hold the cremated remains until you are ready for the scattering ceremony. The urn is usually displayed with the plugged entry portal facing away from viewers. Continue reading This Unique Urn Turns Into a Bird House After Scattering