Most families like to honor a loved one who has passed on with a memorial service. San Francisco Bay Area families have several options with which they can honor lost loved ones, regardless of their final resting place. The following are some options families may want to consider.
If cremation has been chosen for the body’s final repose, the planning process time is less of a problem. The memorial service can be done as soon after as desired, or it can wait longer, since the ashes are preserved. If the body is embalmed to be buried, one will want to plan for a sooner service.
There are many things to consider when planning a memorial service. Some of these include: location, visitation or not, open or closed casket (if applicable), music, participants, and more. Each service will be different, because the people involved are different. It should reflect the person and his or her life and memories.
Focus can be placed on the loved one by having a video presentation that chronicles key points in his or her life. Memorabilia and awards could be set up on a display table. Scrapbooks or photo albums provide a way to remind people of special memories and stories. If the person was known for something, having samples of that (such as a selection of quilts done by the deceased) can be a sweet reminder.
Veterans are entitled to special honors, and military services often include an honor guard. An honor guard has a full rifle team for a “21 Gun Salute,” a bugler to play “Taps,” and flag bearers. An American flag is usually folded carefully and presented to the next of kin during a Veteran’s memorial service.
Location is a primary concern for most services. Having a convenient location that is large enough to accommodate everyone to whom the person was important is a necessity. This could be a church, the cemetery, a park, a rented conference room in a hotel or restaurant, or anywhere else that fits the criteria. Graveside or at the location where the ashes will be kept are often good options, as everything necessary can be taken care of at the same time.
Ashes from cremation have many flexible options for final disposition. They can be placed in a decorative urn or box, or separated into several containers for several family members, if so desired. They can be buried in a gravesite, scattered (though the laws concerning this must be examined first), placed in a niche in a mausoleum or church, or scattered in other, less conventional, ways.
Sometimes it is a comfort to the family to choose a living memorial – either a donation to an important charity or local organization, or planting a tree or shrub in the honor of the loved one. However one chooses to have a loved one’s memorial service in San Francisco, remember that the individual’s preferences are what shape the ceremony.