One of the more frequent questions we get asked is, “What do families do at a graveside service when saying goodbye to a loved one?”
For many, a graveside service in which family and friends gather around the gravesite for the burial or interment of cremated remains is a source of comfort and support during a final sendoff for someone they cared about.
There is no right or wrong way to honour, remember, and say goodbye to a loved one.
Below are a few ideas to help you plan a graveside service.
1. Ask a minister, celebrant of life, family member, or friend to offer a eulogy.
A eulogy is a tribute to a loved one. It generally starts with a welcome note, before acknowledging the different relationships in attendance. For many, a eulogy is meant to focus on everyone being gathered together to remember a person who was important to them.
Click here for helpful tips when writing a eulogy.
2. Share personal stories.
Have an open circle where those gathered can share their favourite story or memory of the deceased. Sharing personal stories can help to highlight the character of the person who has passed and it allows others to recall similar memories. It can also allow everyone attending to learn something new or to hear something comforting during a difficult time.
3. Give the service a personal touch.
Bring personal items to the graveside service for a special touch. A personal item could be a photo, part of a uniform (to symbolize a career that brought them joy or a sport they played and loved), flowers, or other memorabilia that commemorates their life. You can even play their favourite songs in the background or as a moment in the service to reflect on their life.
Remember: Give yourself permission to be emotional.
It is very common — with everything that takes place in the days leading up to the graveside service — that you may not have had a chance to grieve. Remember that it’s okay to be sad and show emotion.
There are many ways that people gather to remember a loved one. If you ever have any questions about graveside services, please feel free to contact our office and a member of our team will help guide you.