Memorial services are not so much rites for the dead as celebrations by the living and for the living of the lives of those who have died. Such ceremonies are an important way of saying good-bye, yet most people are not sure exactly what to do when the task of arranging one falls to them.
Here is a practical and supportive guide, explaining how to cope with all the details when efficiency is furthest from your mind:
Timing, place, and who should participate
Selecting a minister or spiritual leader
Choosing the right words and music
Writing a eulogy
Setting the scene with flowers, photos, and mementos
Bringing closure by providing food, drink, and companionship afterward
In addition to two sample memorial services, an annotated bibliography and discography, and a listing of memorial societies throughout the country, Rob Baker offers helpful information and advice on funerals, cremation, undertakers (including where to look on the Web to evaluate what they have to offer), donating the body or its organs for medical purposes, as well as a brief history of funerary traditions.