Memorial advice?
July 26, 2005 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Are there resources out there for planning a memorial service?

My google-fu is failing to get past the myriad funeral home commercial sites. My uncle has just died, and we're planning a small memorial for him. I'm most likely going to be asked to conduct the actual speaking portion of the event, rather than bringing in some professional that never knew him to do it. My father will most likely give the main speech. What other things do funerals usually include? (I've only ever been to one, and it was a Catholic mass, which is definitely not what we're going for.)

It will most likely take place at the Seniors' social hall where he and my parents were active members before his stroke. There will probably be a couple of dozen people there. We're not looking for a full funeral type thing, just something appropriate to a small gathering of friends there to remember him.
posted by jacquilynne to Human Relations (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I found this page pretty helpful when planning my dad's service. The most important thing in my experience was to make sure to get any speakers lined up as far ahead of time as possible, and give them a clear idea of how much time they'll have. (And if you're having recorded music, try not to have your CD burner crash the night before the event, when you're madly assembling the mix...)
posted by Kat Allison at 9:09 AM on July 26, 2005

I have planned both a full Catholic mass, and a smaller, personal service in a funeral home chapel. For the latter (my grandmother), it was half attended by family, and half by her friends - people I'd never met before, and who in turn, didn't really know the extended family.

We had a formal eulogy by a pre-determined speaker, but also opened up the floor to anyone who wanted to get up and give a brief rememberance. Folks just stood up where they sat, gave a little speech or told a story, and then sat down. This was the best part of the service as it made it more inclusive, plus we all learned a little more about my grandmother in the process.
posted by Sangre Azul at 1:42 PM on July 26, 2005

Put together a picture collage of your uncle from the years he was growing up until present time. Also, if your uncle had any hobbies or awards, maybe you could set up a table with a collection of his achievements. Was he a golfer? Bring in his golf clubs. Did he enjoy a particular style of music? Play it throughout the gathering and play his favorite song for the service.

Also, bring some handsome stationary and pens to the memorial service and personally ask people to jot down some of their favorite memories of him. Provide a basket where people can drop the memories in. After the service is over, you could take some of the pictures from the collage and the memories and create a scrap book of your uncle. This would also make a meaningful gift if you have a widowed aunt, or any cousins who you would like to do something special for.
posted by echolex at 9:34 PM on July 26, 2005

Robert Fulghum, the Unitarian minister who is famous for writing "Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" has another book out that deals with this topic. It's called "From Beginning to End," and I highly recommend it. You can tell from the title that the book deals with all types of rituals, but he relates lots of personal stories. Kind of neat to hear what a minister considers to be the most touching services he's ever been involved in...
posted by richmondparker at 4:10 PM on July 27, 2005

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