by Michael J Neddo, Lowe-Neddo Funeral Home
Here is the church and here is the steeple/Open the doors and see all the people. – Children’s Nursery Rhyme
Okay, how many of you are already doing the motions to that rhyme with your hands? Leave it to a childhood nursery rhyme to bring back the memories. So what does that nursery rhyme have to do with this article? Well, one of the common questions I get today not only asking about “how” to celebrate a life lived but also “where” to do so.
The topic of “where” is as important to living, laughing and loving as any other decisions you make. Traditionally, families held visitations at funeral homes and then went to churches to have a ceremony. Today, ceremonies can be held in any number of places including outdoors and private residences. There are some important reasons behind this choice as you consider what is best and when you look at it, the question of “where” deserves some serious thought to the options available today.
A friend of mine once asked me, “Michael, why do you still call it a funeral home? Why aren’t you “Lowe-Neddo Funeral and Cremation Service” or “Lowe-Neddo Mortuary” like many other funeral homes have done?”
Well, the answer for me was simple. “Home” is where you can be found even when you are not there. Think about that for a minute. If you came to my house and looked around, you would see those things that are important to me. Even though I am absent, you would see what is important to me. My photos, my family, my personal effects, even my mu-sic would all be there for you to see. That is because “home” is where you can be seen even when not there.
My funeral home is designed to be that way to families we are privileged to serve. By bringing in personal effects, photos, even music, my funeral home becomes the “home” of the life celebrated. As such, I still prefer to be known as a funeral home rather than a funeral service.
But what about people that want to do funerals at home, to bring the body back to where all those personal things are located instead of vice versa? This is a growing movement and in fact, is really coming full circle.
Before funeral homes existed, funerals were held in the home. When they were, the body was laid in state in the formal parlor while the family would gather and receive friends in the informal parlor. This became known as the room of the living, or as we say today, the living room. In truth, we still use home funeral terms today and may not have even been aware of it!
So what should you consider when having a home funeral? First, realize that a home funeral can be done with a casket or with a cremation urn. Contrary to what some may say, you do not need to be cremated to have this option. Second, consider how many people will be attending and how you will accommodate these guests in the home. Third, since most homes do not have parking lots, consider where you will park vehicles and provide a proper route should a hearse need entrance and exit to proceed to a cemetery. Finally, with all the ways to honor a loved one: video memorials, music, displaying personal effects such as a motorcycle or coin collection, consider how to take the space you have and create that celebration.
Will it just be a visitation with a service somewhere else? Will you hold both the visitation and service at home?
When putting together a home funeral, please know that Lowe-Neddo Funeral Home would be proud to be your resource and facilitator in making it happen. We have the chairs, equipment and knowledge to ensure whether using our home or yours, a celebration of life can be held in such a way that honors the dead and supports the living.
So when thinking of the “what”, remember to spend some time on the “where” as well to ensure the celebration is as unique as the life lived!