13 May Boomers Seeking More Personalization In Memorials
I recently saw a great article about Baby Boomers by Sally Kane on About.com. In it, she writes, “Baby Boomers are confident, independent and self-reliant. This generation grew up in an era of reform and believe they can change the world. They questioned established authority systems and challenged the status quo.” Often, we’re finding these values and beliefs carry over as they make memorial decisions.
Boomers see the remembrances as a valuable part of the grieving process and are looking for ways to make them unique and meaningful. The generation that grew up with rock and roll, the civil rights movement and space exploration may not be satisfied with a traditional funeral format of three hymns, two scriptures and one eulogy.
More Personalization In Memorials
Increased personalization has resulted in more services that reflect the hobbies, passions and interests of the loved one who has died.
In several recent memorials, I’ve attended, multiple speakers have shared their thoughts about their loved one. Religious leaders (pastors, priests, rabbis, chaplains, etc.) frequently are still included. However, they are increasingly sharing the podium with relatives of the deceased, friends, co-workers, teammates and so on who describe different aspects of the life that’s being remembered.
Ways To Make Memorials More Personal
Other elements of the memorial can also be changed to achieve personalization:
Instead of relying solely on traditional hymns, consider adding some of the loved one’s favorite songs – religious, secular or both. For people whose lives centered on children, perhaps you could forego the organist’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” in favor of a children’s choir singing “Jesus Loves Me.”
Instead of a church, synagogue or funeral home, how about conducting the service in the person’s favorite restaurant or local park?
Yes, flowers are beautiful and a wonderful tribute. But you could also display items used by the loved one while doing their favorite hobby; e.g. golf clubs, scrapbook collections; enlarged photos.
The possible variations are endless. I urge you to have an open mind and consider unique ways to remember the person’s life. Communication is critical, however. Whether you’re planning your own memorial or acting on a family member’s behalf, make sure everyone who is most affected and most closely connected to the final arrangements are included in the decisions.