It’s a great relief to loved ones when we provide instructions for our funeral with our will. And we all know this is not an easy thing to think about, so to give you some ideas, here are some notes I’ve made for my own funeral:

  • Brother to be the master of ceremonies
  • Masses of candles and flowers and each person should come in their celebratory clothes
  • He will teach and lead everyone through the greetings dance in a circle
  • I shall be in a cardboard coffin surrounded by candles in the centre of the circle
  • In turn each person speaks of me saying:
    • How we first met
    • What they valued in the friendship
    • Any hurt or grievance they still hold. The purpose of this is to acknowledge it and then release it.
  • The group scribble to sign their name in felt tip pens on the cardboard coffin
  • Musical interlude – yet to be planned!
  • Everyone says something affirming their own life now, followed by feasting
  • Everyone is given a helium-filled ballon which they carry with them to the the nearby burial place and after my coffin is lowered the balloons are released to symbolise my newly freed soul
  • Each person leaves with flowers to take home and a book or article I owned.
  • Any letters I’ve written saying farewell will be distributed.

Making a few notes such as this provides a framework for those planning your funeral to work in, and they can get the real satisfaction of knowing that they have complied with your wishes. Many people report that when they do this, they feel they are giving you, the deceased person, a final gift which is very comforting in their bereavement. So, in turn, thinking about and making your funeral wishes known is also a gift to them!

Christianne Heal is a psychotherapist and counsellor and one of her interests is Bereavement counselling and End of Life counselling.