The Importance of Saying Good-Bye

By: Bill Laing
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Funerals and memorial services are significant parts of the grieving process and are necessary for helping loved ones come to terms with the loss they’ve suffered. Moreover, funerals are also a time to get support from others, and to pay tribute to the life your loved one lived.

There are many different ways to pay respects when someone dies, including a funeral, memorial, or celebration of life, but each one provides friends and family with a final opportunity to say goodbye, and this allows the healing process to begin. 

Paying Tribute to the Person You’ve Lost

A funeral is a time to pay respects and honor the deceased, and this includes remembering the life that person lived, sharing stories about the good times, and reminiscing about the past. To pay tribute to the person you loved and lost, you all gather at the funeral to publicly express the love you feel.

For those who are still alive, this process is also important because it helps you begin to make the shift from thinking about the person as a living and physical presence in your life to someone who is now only there in memory. And if you're looking for a special way to share memories of your loved one, we can help with personalized memorial tributes.

Providing the Support You Need to Let Go

On top of being a ritualistic part of many cultures that allows mourners to celebrate life’s final stage, funerals also serve a very practical purpose: they provide a place where loved ones can gather in support and say farewell. Saying goodbye to a person who has died is a necessary step in the healing process, because if you don’t come to terms with the loss, then you won’t be able to accept it, heal, and move on.

The funeral, therefore, provides a time and place for you and your loved ones to come together, support one another, and face the loss you’ve all shared. Once you come to terms with the reality of what's happened, you can begin to grieve and mourn, and the funeral provides a safe place where you can start to say your final goodbyes and express the sadness you feel.

Types of Services You Can Have for a Loved One

While many people think of the traditional funeral as the place to say goodbye, there are also less formal events, known as celebrations of life or memorial services, that can provide this same closure for mourners. These different types of services serve the same purpose—to provide loved ones with a time and place to grieve publicly, share memories, give and get support, and say goodbye—but they are very different in process, atmosphere, and location:

Traditional funerals usually occur within a couple of days of death, are often religious in nature (either because they're held in places of worship or led by religious leaders), they often follow a  traditional pattern, and they often finish with a graveside service where the body is laid to rest. 

Memorial services and life celebrations, on the other hand, can be formal and more uplifting events where the body is not present. They can occur weeks or even months after the actual death, often led by friends or family, and often take place in a location that was special to the deceased.

Regardless of how you want to pay your respects to your loved one, a funeral or memorial service can provide you, your friends, and your family with an opportunity to come together, grieve together, and say goodbye together.

As difficult as it will be, saying goodbye is a vital step in the grieving process, and eventually it will allow you to heal from the loss you’ve suffered and move on, as you carry the memories of your loved one in your heart.


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