Each life is unique; so every funeral should be too – how to personalise a funeral
As lives lived are unique and different, so it is with the funerals we arrange to celebrate them. In this blog, Managing Director James Morris, explores how we ensure funerals are personal.
Funerals can seem so tied up in tradition. I mean the bloke wearing a top hat, with a cane, long coat and all in black – it’s so Victorian. Well I’m that bloke in the top hat on a weekday. And I can safely say that many of the traditions we associate with funerals are rooted in sound reason. But traditions can be broken, especially when it comes to funerals which are, by definition, a ceremony before burial or cremation.
Because each person and each life is unique, shouldn’t each funeral be unique too? Shouldn’t there be something of the person in every funeral?
Of course they must and so at Gary Staker, we focus on ‘what’s right for this funeral’?
We ask about the person whose funeral we are arranging. What they liked/didn’t like, their personality, their quirks. It’s one of the perks of our role that we get to spend time with arranging family and friends as they reflect on a life lived, a legacy left and trade stories and memories when shaping the send-off. We explore what is appropriate to their memory of the one and balance this with what is acceptable for the family and friends left behind? There is huge scope to personalise and make each funeral unique and special.
In some ways it’s really only limited by imagination or creativity. I sometimes say to a family: “Dare to be different if that’s what right for you”.
As most people don’t have much funeral experience, it’s my job to encourage families and friends that one creative idea can transform a funeral experience from something to be endured – remote and cold – to something that really was a celebration of someone loved. We want families to celebrate lives lived.
Even during the coronavirus pandemic, when funerals were seriously restricted, we arranged unique and personal funerals across the capital, Lothians, and Fife – see the lockdown tribute paid to a much loved cabbie.
We’ve seen everything from motorbike hearses to full brass bands, personalised picture coffins to cardboard ones decorated by the grandchildren. Then there can be different locations: under the trees at a woodland burial site to literally at the seaside.
Our focus is arranging a funeral that’s right for you and honours the memory of the one you’ve loved. And if traditional is what you want … well we’ve been doing that for over 130 years so we’ve got plenty of experience to share around.