Here is a sweet example of personalization and participation in funerals from Twitter today. The deceased was layed out in his favorite Superman shirt. His friends followed suit, wearing their superhero shirts as they carried their friend to his place of rest.
This one post says so much about what can be done right at a funeral.
The clothing that the dead are dressed in should reflect the personality and spirit of that person. Whether its a suit, overalls, a uniform, or ritual religious garments, clothing can be an important expression of our personality, individuality, membership in an important group, and even humanity. Not everyone should be layed out in a Superman shirt, but not everyone should be layed out in a conservative suit or dress either.
Participation can be very important for survivors in their path back to life. Through participation, we accept and act out the ritual and reality of the death and this helps us to understand and express our emotions in a healthy and meaningful way. Each of these pallbearers have gotten much more from their involvement in the service than they ever would by sitting passively through it.
Connection with community is one of the most valuable parts of a funeral. These men have come to publicly support one another and the family of the deceased, and by dressing in this manner, they show a solidarity with the deceased, with one another and have shown in a public way that this life and its passing is important to them.
Here is the message that goes with the photo:
"We buried @NickolasMichael today in his favorite super man shirt & we carried him out wearing ours to honor him"
In response, one comment read: 'I hope when I go I have some friends like you. My condolences to you and his family."