Funerals and Memorial Services

The public gathering to mark the passing of a beloved family member is filled with the complexities of bidding farewell, attending to sorrow and grief, honoring cherished memories, and celebrating their rich life and legacy. In the best of circumstances, when a family member has passed after a long life well lived, with enough notice for farewells and final visits, it is easier to strike the fitting balance between shedding the tears of farewell and sharing the joy they brought into our lives. When a loved one has died suddenly or tragically, we are left reeling from the suddenness and shock of their passing yet need to strive for the balance between honest expressions of grief, as well as capturing the moment to celebrate and remember the wonder and beauty of that loved one’s life.

benson_15A person-centered funeral or memorial service places the story of the life and death of a loved one at the heart of the ceremony. Telling the story of a person’s life means accurately portraying the facts and circumstances of his or her life, as well as getting in between those lines to bring out the character—the heart and soul—of the individual. The goal is to amplify the loving remembrances of people who now grieve. Telling the life story is supported by selected music, readings and/or prayers drawn from sources that provide inspiration for the family or that reflect the truth and meaning of a loved one’s life. It can be further supported by incorporating photographs and mementos from the individual’s life.

My person-centered approach treats with utmost respect the spirituality or tradition that was the guiding force for the deceased, as well as the spirituality or traditions that are the source of meaning and comfort for the surviving family members.