A Funeral Service or a Celebration of Life?

The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult things we experience in our lives.  Making a decision about honouring the life of the deceased can be an emotional and, sometimes,  challenging process.  Do you plan a funeral service or do you hold a celebration of life?  What’s the difference?

Funeral Service

Historically, funerals have been the service of choice to commemorate a death.  These rituals usually take place in a religious venue and are normally structured, with formal procedures and a religious leader presiding over a generally somber atmosphere.  The body of the deceased is present for family and friends to pay their final respects.  The exact details vary among religions and cultures, but funeral services usually take place within a few days of the death.

Celebration of Life

As our societal values change and evolve over time, the concept of a celebration of life is being embraced across religions and cultures.  This is a more informal ceremony that can take place in a variety of venues, such as a home or another meeting place.  The overall atmosphere is more relaxed and light-hearted than a formal funeral service.  Many people find that this kind of celebration makes it easier to cope with their loss.  Because the body is not present, the service can take place any time after a death occurs – there is no fixed time period that applies.  A celebration of life can be an occasion where family and friends can perhaps raise a toast to their loved one, listen to favourite songs and exchange fond memories.  The program is not normally structured or formal.

How do You Decide?

At Kearney’s Funeral Services, our knowledgeable and professional staff can help you to decide which kind of service you would like to have for your loved one.  As always, we encourage pre-planning, as this eliminates the burden of guessing what the deceased would have wanted.  We encourage you to call or visit your nearest Kearney location to discuss your needs.  We have four offices in the Lower Mainland.  No matter what you decide, we can help you to plan an appropriate and memorable final good-bye for your loved one.