Funerals have been steeped in a variety of traditions and rituals for as long as humans have been in existence. They provide an excellent opportunity to honor the dead and showcase the accomplishments and major life transitions that occurred throughout their life. The family & friends who will naturally fall in line to plan the funeral will have the best insight into how the funeral should be conducted and what should be included in the service. This encompasses everything from the décor of the funeral to the music played. Funerals that are conducted in synchrony with the decedents' life are well suited to impart the type of life they lived to funeral goers who may not have had the chance to meet them. It also can help harmoniously connect the life of the recently deceased with funeral-goers in a more down to Earth kind of way.
Respecting the Last Wishes of the Dead
The person planning the funeral has a wonderful opportunity to respect the last wishes of the deceased and plan a funeral that appropriately symbolizes the life they lived. The deceased person deserves to be remembered for what they did in life. If they were a fireman than a fireman themed funeral would seem appropriate. If they loved baseball, playing some baseball stadium music might be perfect while adding a subtle lightheartedness to the situation.
However, some aspects of the recently deceased life that get put on display may make some funeral goers feel excluded. For instance, if the recently deceased was gay, it might make more conservative friends and family uncomfortable to bring up during the eulogy. It can be difficult trying to accommodate for everybody. Ultimately, the question arises, who is the funeral really for and should the funeral be conducted in a way the truly represents the recently deceased at the expense of not censoring certain information that may make others uncomfortable. The answer to this questions is not definite nor simple to find. On one hand, the funeral should be true to whoever died. It should represent them and everything they stood for in life. This is how we remember people in history, and by presenting a false narrative, that person forever lives on with a name partially clouded in lies. Whether for better or for worse, we should still hold to the truth with everything we say and do.
Ultimately, the people left in the wake of the death are the ones left to grieve and deal with the aftermath of the tragedy. They are the ones who have to carry on after the death, and continue living their lives. The funeral provides a great way to find closure and emotional support from surrounding family and friends. This does not mean that a funeral should be specifically catered to the mourners. It is still important to reflect on the life of the recently deceased accurately so that people at the funeral who may have never met the deceased can get a true idea of who he/she was.
If certain things might alienate certain funeral guest, than if possible a compromise should be found. In the end the, the funeral is less about the eulogy and more about family and friends coming together to support each other. The funeral in most cases does not need to be 'watered down' for the funeral goers because most of the people at the funeral are people who loved the recently deceased regardless of a differing political or religious standpoint.