The passing of a loved one is never easy. When we lose someone we care about we set about memorializing them through a service. A church, people gathered dressed all in black, an open casket, and somber music are all typical images that come to mind when we think of a traditional funeral. It’s a typical scene, but it is also an idea that isn’t shared by everyone.
While some see the end of life as a solemn meant to mourn a passing, others believe that it should be seen as a celebration. Not to celebrate the end of a life, but to celebrate all that was accomplished while the person was around on this earth, and to honor them as they had lived.
Sometimes an alternative style funeral celebration may be seen as controversial or even offensive. Often, something that goes against established traditions raises eyebrows. At their core though, these alternative types of services have the one most important thing in common with a traditional celebration, which is to honor the passing of a cherished person.
The living funeral was an idea that received popularity from the novel Tuesdays with Morrie. The simple concept is that a person, usually one who is terminally ill or otherwise knows they have very little time left, hosts a celebration where friends and family gather to say their final farewells.
These are often held in an environment of the host’s choosing. They also tend to be a warmer, familiar, and more relaxed occasion as people share stories, laugh, and cry, having an opportunity to say their final farewells when the person is still around to hear them.
The Motorcycle Funeral
For anybody that has been a long time rider of the two-wheeled motorized method of travel, a motorcycle becomes an integral part of their lives. A motorcycle funeral may involve a memorial ride with surviving family, friends, and members of the deceased’s motorcycle club honoring the fallen with one last ride.
In the case of one motorcycle enthusiast, his viewing involved his body riding his motorcycle one last time. It’s certainly strange to see, but for his closest friends and family, they wanted to see him one last time, not as he died, but as he lived.
A Green Service
The impact of losing a loved one is a tremendous event and it is certainly no less of an impact on our environment. An article that appeared in 2008 in Scientific American referenced a study in National Geographic that highlighted the environmental impact that funerals are having. Millions of feet of wooden boards, thousands of tons of steel, hundreds of thousands of gallons of embalming fluid, these are all being kept underground.
An eco-conscious person is not interested in leaving a lasting impression. For them, the ideal service is a modest and reserved one. Only the closest people would attend, working diligently to reduce the carbon footprint of the event. A green burial often involves avoiding cremation and using a casket made of biodegradable material. The belief here lies in the idea of returning everything to the earth from which we originally came.
Contemporary society has no shortage of ways to see the passing of our loved ones. Some may seem strange and maybe even offensive to certain sensibilities at times. Remember though, that for the loved ones who still remain, their choice of service reflect how they feel is best to honor and respect those that are no longer with us.
Updated: June 18, 2013