No Service by Request

I take a daily paper and read the obituary pages. When reading the notices, I am both saddened and made curious when I see the words “No service by request”. I can’t help but wonder What has happened in someone’s life to leave to such a last wish.
Have they sat through too many boring, ineffective, meaningless, or disrespectful funeral or memorial services to want to inflict that on the people they love?  Have they found themselves on the receiving end of a heaping helping of religion that meant nothing to them or the person who has died?
Do they think that nobody will go to a memorial or funeral service for them? Do they want to save money & effort for their family & friends? Have they been living on the surface of their lives, afraid to face their own grief and pain and unaware that others may need or want to?
No matter what their reasons, I believe it is unfair of the person who is dying to  impose their wishes on those who are left to grieve.  Memorials and funerals are for the living. They serve many purposes. Perhaps the most important function of memorials and funerals is to help people mark the changes that come with the loss of someone they have cared about, played with, and/or worked with. The close family experiences being supported by a community of friends and relatives through a time when everything can feel upside-down and backwards.  And everyone can take a few minutes to think of their own mortality and to reassess how they are living their lives.
My work as a Celebrant is to offer memorials and funerals that are engaging, effective, meaningful, and respectful.

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