Why would we allow the death of a loved one to pass without ceremony?
Rituals are not optional to a healthy culture: they tell us where we’ve been, they bind us together, they give us courage for the journey.
The ritual of the funeral or the memorial service has several purposes. First of all, it helps mourners recognize the loss as real. Sometimes a body is present at the service, often not, but always we know that we are there to acknowledge that someone has died, and to acknowledge the death not just in fact, but in feeling. We come together to grieve in the presence of a caring community, and for the time of the service we have permission to give ourselves to the experience of loss.