Why do we plan and attend funerals? Of course, when someone we love dies, we look for ways to find closure and provide that person with the proper send-off. Having a funeral is about more than just saying goodbye, though. It’s about coming together to remember, and start to heal. A big part of that process involves stories.  

There are many different ways to bring storytelling into a funeral and help people begin to heal.  

  • You can choose speakers who are natural storytellers. Maybe it’s a beloved family member with a gift for anecdotes that make people smile. On the other hand, it could be a celebrant who knows how to tell the story of the person who has died in a way that speaks to the hearts of those listening. Whomever you choose to speak at the funeral, remember this: life is made up of stories, and when we know another person’s stories, we begin to know that person. Sharing stories at a funeral opens hearts to both joy and tears, and helps paint a picture of the unique life your loved one lived.  
  • Let pictures and mementos help tell the story. Pictures can often say far more than words, and nowhere is this more accurate than at an end of life celebration. Treasured family photos, snapshots of meaningful moments, and candid flashes of the person’s life, together with objects that show his or her interests, can tell us more than a speaker can. Find creative ways to display these items, and ask your funeral director for help in creating an atmosphere that helps people relive happy moments that celebrate their loved one’s life.  
  • Use the reception as a time to share stories. As friends and family members gather, it’s natural for memories and stories to pour out during conversation. Encourage this, perhaps even providing a microphone to pass around and allow people to share anecdotes. Sometimes, long-forgotten memories are brought back to mind. Other times, people learn things about their loved ones that they hadn’t previously known. No matter how it happens, it creates an atmosphere of camaraderie that helps people heal.  

One way to make sure your story is told the way you want it to be shared is to carefully preplan your end-of-life services. When you preplan, you get to choose all the details, from the big things like whether you want to be buried or cremated to the little things like who you’d like to have tell your story. You can choose photos and mementos to be displayed, decide on your readings and music, and even choose special touches like a dove release or memorial DVD. Your funeral is a place where others tell your story, but when you preplan, you get to decide how it will be told. 

At Chapel of the Chimes Oakland, we’ve been helping people tell the stories of their loved ones for over a century. Committed to helping families heal, we’ve built a solid reputation on sincerity, quality, and trust. Call us at (510) 379-5200 to learn more about how to preplan, and all that Chapel of the Chimes has to offer.