Thursday, November 12, 2009

"We were all dreading it, but it was an amazing day"

no funeral

"Mad Mike" and Fay Vercoe (photo from Dartford Messenger)

"It was an amazing day." How often do you hear a funeral described this way? Actually, I hear this kind of sentiment quite a lot after funerals. No one looks forward to attending a funeral, but when it is an appropriate tribute to the person we have lost, when friends and family participate in ritual and remembrance, the results are moving and uplifting. No service or expression of sympathy can take away the pain and grief of loss, but the presence and participation of friends and family demonstrate to us that our loved one is missed by others too. Their support acknowledges that this life had meaning, and its departure is a serious and important loss felt by many.

The rituals we follow can be old, newly made, or a combination of the two, like a motorcycle procession. In any case, participating in them is a public expression of the importance of this event and helps us to accept and work through our grief.

The acknowledgement of our situation, the remembrance and tribute to the unique personality of our loved one, and participation in rituals that are relevant to us and the spirit of the deceased,can all have a wonderful and meaningful effect on us. That is what funerals are all about.

Here is a wonderful example from an article fr0m The Dartford Messenger / KM Group, by senior reporter, Danny Boyle:

Just days after battling out of hospital, Fay Vercoe, of West Kingsdown, paid tribute to husband Mike as she laid him to rest on Friday, following the smash in Italy. About 250 bikers from across Europe followed his coffin, carried in a motorbike sidecar, from a Farningham pub to the funeral of the well-loved 66-year-old, known affectionately as Mad Mike. In her first interview, 62-year-old Mrs Vercoe, who only left Darent Valley Hospital last Tuesday, said: “Going to Mike’s funeral was a goal I was determined to hit, it was the least I could do for him.

“We were all dreading it, but it was an amazing day. It was absolutely incredible to see the sheer number of people that turned up. Talk about lifting the spirits.”

Mrs Vercoe was riding on the back of her husband’s new Triumph Thunderbird when tragedy struck near Trento, Italy, on September 22, just one week into a trip with the Motorcycle Touring Club of Europe. She paid tribute to her husband: "Mike was the life and soul of everybody’s party. He loved to dance, which we would do whenever we could, and he was a talented artist. “But bikes were his true love, he’s been riding since he was 16 and very experienced. He was a happy guy who lived for the moment.” for the full article, visit The Dartford Messenger

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Funeral service faces a crisis of relevance, and I am passionate about keeping the best traditions of service alive while adapting to the changing needs of families. Feel free to contact me with questions, or to share your thoughts on funeral service, ritual, and memorialization.