At one point in time or another, you will likely be involved with planning a funeral or Life Celebration. While this is a daunting task that no one looks forward to doing, if done in advance your efforts will be very beneficial to your family and friends when it is time to say goodbye to your loved one.  If you are the family member or friend who is responsible for planning a funeral at the time of need, don’t worry, your funeral director will walk you through every decision and help you every step of the way.



Anyone who has experienced a death of a loved one may find the holidays difficult. The season can become filled with feelings of sadness, loss and emptiness.  “Society encourages you to join in the holiday spirit, but all around you the sounds, sights and smells trigger memories of the one you love who has died,” said Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D, Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition “During the holidays it is important to remember to be tolerant and compassionate with yourself.”



It’s a new year!  For many people that means life starts over.  It’s a time to try to live better, be more organized, and complete tasks that perhaps were overlooked during the previous year.  As you are making your resolutions and lists of all the things you want to do to make your life better in 2018, have you considered discussing having the Talk of a Lifetime with your loved ones?  What is the Talk of a Lifetime you might be asking. Having the Talk of a Lifetime means sharing your story....


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Regardless of your age, there is a good chance that you have attended at least one or two funerals. For those people reading this article, there is a greater chance that you’ve possibly attended many more funerals than just two. Unfortunately, over the past year, I personally have attended more funerals than normal. With each funeral I attend, my belief that funerals are an important ritual to help the living acknowledge loss and begin the grief process grows even stronger. Funerals do matter.

While it is understandable that people do not enjoy discussing or prearranging a funeral, I realize now, more than ever how necessary it is for the family of the deceased to have a funeral, life celebration or graveside service.

First and foremost, before friends and family even arrive for the funeral service, the funeral ritual provides an opportunity for immediate family member to acknowledge the reality of death and say good bye to their loved one in a private setting.

According to Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. “Typically, we embrace this reality in two phases. First we acknowledge the death with our minds; we are told that someone we loved has died and, intellectually at least, we understand the fact of the death. Over the course of the

following days and weeks, and with the gentle understanding of those around us, we begin to acknowledge the reality of the death in our hearts.”

Funerals are a public means of expressing our beliefs and feelings about the death of someone we love. Dr. Wolfelt states that “Funerals make a social statement that says, come support me. Whether they realize it or not, those who choose not to have a funeral are saying, Don't come support me.”

Additionally, funerals services allow us to bring together friends and family whose support and compassion give the grieving comfort and perspective. Dr. Wolfelt says by attending the funeral we are letting everyone else there know that they are not alone in their grief.

While at the funeral, friends and family are able to physically demonstrate their support. When words are difficult to find, opportunities for people to embrace, to touch and to comfort each other help friends and family show their support to one another.

With friends and family present, everyone who is experiencing grief finds comfort in sharing memories, tributes and appreciation for the life of the deceased. The sharing of stories in a safe and supportive setting provides most people with hope and realization that life will go on and that it is okay to continue living.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, funerals are also an expression of faith. Like living, dying is a natural and unavoidable process. The funeral allows family to more closely cope with death from a religious and spiritual perspective.

Virtually everyone who comforts family and friends at a visitation and attends a funeral or life celebration experiences a profound sense of their importance and helpfulness. In attending funerals over the years, I have personally felt and noticed how this profound experience ultimately aids in the grieving process. More than endings, funerals and life celebrations are bridges of transition. As time passes and grief subsides, we appreciate more fully the relationship that endures. We see that the words spoken and feelings experienced during the visitation and funeral help us reach a place of fond memory and deep appreciation for the person whose life is celebrated.


Kim Wade has been a marketing consultant for more than 20 years specializing in the funeral industry. Currently, she is the Community Relations Director for Milward Funeral Directors, the 37th- oldest continuously operated family business in the United States which operates three locations in Lexington including its Celebration of Life center at 1509 Trent Boulevard. Kim can be reached at or 859-252-3411.

more articles by kim wade