Ceremony is whatever brings you closer to your essential self.
– Richard Wagamese
There is no one “right” way to honour and mourn for your one who has died through ceremony. You may find solace in a traditional funeral mass or a sorrowful graveside ritual that rekindles stories told to you by your grandmother. A heartfelt and even joyous celebration of life may resonate with you. You may be yearning for a thoughtful and unique ceremony that creates connection and meaning and supports you to be with the reality of death. You may need guidance in sifting through different ideas. Still, you may know precisely what you want but need assistance in making it happen.
Whatever your culture, circumstance or challenge, we’re here to help you care for, remember, mourn and celebrate your family members and friends. We’re here to walk with you in experiencing the power of ceremony as well as in exploring the myriad emotions that invariably arise when someone dies: grief and guilt, love and loss, healing, grace and gratitude.
To learn how KORU works in collaboration to create outstanding ceremony, please read more at The Hummingbird Project.
Photo by Debby Hudson
Why Ceremony is Important
If you’re one who reads obituaries, you will notice that more people are choosing not to have a memorial service or ceremony of any kind. There are a variety of reasons for this growing trend. Some are concerned with cost. Family members may be scattered in different places in the world. Some may have experienced religious funeral service before and find that it doesn’t resonate with them. Or they may not know anyone who can guide them in creating and facilitating a ceremony that genuinely reflects their loved one’s life and values.
A ceremony is a way to honour and remember your dead. Whether you have 88 family members and friends, or a more intimate group of 8. Whether you have tea and treats in your own home or in a rented hall, a picnic in the park, or a rowdy toast of beer in a local brewery, ceremony is an opportunity to gather and reconnect.
What if the person who died didn’t want any service or ceremony at all? An end of life ceremony is about the deceased, but it is for those who are living. It’s for those who are left behind – family and friends who may want time to reflect on how they want the deceased to be remembered. How they can continue to carry the torch of the person’s legacy to the world. A ceremony is a space to think about how this death has impacted their own lives.
Alan D. Wolfelt, death educator and grief counsellor, frames authentic ceremonies through their benefits to the grief process. Meaningful ceremonies help us acknowledge the reality of our person’s death, move toward the pain of the loss, remember the person who died, and develop a new self-identity. It helps us search for meaning after a death. Authentic ceremonies also allow us to receive ongoing support from others.
As human beings we create ceremonies in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.
– Elizabeth Gilbert
The Making of a Ceremony
There are two fundamental yet different aspects of funeral-based ceremonies. The creation and officiating of the service itself and the logistics of planning the event.
Creating and designing a meaningful ceremony requires knowledge of ritual and creative ability around ceremony writing. When officiating a ceremony, one should be comfortable with working with other professionals who help to make the service happen, and should provide a warm presence at the ceremony, speaking to and guiding all those involved. All of this describes the work of a Celebrant.
The event and logistics planning looks at both the big picture as well as the many little details that come with any small or big event. Both the atmosphere and feel of a venue, as well as curated choices of food, flowers and decorations, should reflect the life and values of the departed and be responsive to the needs of the family. Then there’s organizing, ordering and coordinating with vendor staff. This is the work of a Ceremony Planner and Ceremony Coordinator.
Most people probably don’t want to think of a Celebration of Life or a Funeral Ceremony as similar to a wedding. But in many aspects, they are quite similar. You really don’t want the officiant of your wedding – whether a justice of peace, a life-cycle celebrant, a priest, rabbi or imam – to suggest the menu for your reception! And you don’t ask him or her to make sure that your bridal entourage will be where they ought to be when they’re needed. You hire a wedding planner and/or wedding coordinator for that, or request your cousin Anna who is an organized, detail-oriented and “cool under pressure” kind of person.
If you want to know more about how KORU can help you create a personal and customized ceremony, kindly connect with us.
We sit down with you, in your home or at our KORU office, and imagine the perfect ceremony taking care of the nuts and bolts, the vision and the way forward. A carpenter and a dreamer, a planner and a facilitator. It will be an honour to walk with you in your grieving process.
We offer a 30-minute FREE consultation.
KORU recognizes that for a ceremony to resonate with you, the venue or gathering place may be a significant consideration. It is for this reason that KORU deliberately chose to not have an on-site funeral chapel. Instead, we can help you choose and plan a ceremony in a location that is special to you and your family. This may be in a garden, a park setting, a local brewery or your backyard. Whatever the choice, KORU can help you. Read more for venue selection options.
If you are someone who has taken care of your family member in hers or his dying days, it is only natural to want to continue to provide that loving care after death. Read more about Family-led / DIY/ or Home Funerals
Go to Our Packages where you will find our prices and packages straightforward, easy to understand and no hidden fees.
Go to Additional Services for an itemized list of other services we provide.
Go to KORU Shop where you can purchase urns and keepsake cremation jewellery directly from our online store, whether or not we help you with caring for your dead.
Go to Caskets to get a sense of which caskets or shroud would suite your needs, your tastes and your budget.
KORU has made a conscious decision to only sell caskets and shrouds for burial and cremation that are either eco-friendly in their materials and manufacture and / or are made in Canada. We know how important it is for all of us to do our part to leave lighter footprints on our earth.
Please visit the FAQ section for more ceremony information
- Ceremonies can be led by a religious leader like a priest, rabbi, reverend, imam or minister.
- Ceremonies can be created and led by you, your family friend, your Aunt or by a person trained as a Celebrant or Officiant; a professional ceremony maker. KORU has recommended several trusted and very talented Life Celebrants in our Resource section.
- There are many words used to describe a “funeral service” but essentially they all represent the same thing, honouring the life of someone who died.
- All funeral homes, regardless of who owns them, can organize a burial at any cemetery, regardless of who owns the cemetery. In other words, if your cemetery of choice owns and operates a funeral home, you are not obligated to use their funeral home.
- Your ceremony, or service, may be one or a combination of these common names for different types of ceremony: funeral service, wake, visitation, viewing, memorial service, celebration of life, graveside service, living tribute.
- Resurrected names for ceremonies in which family and friends are involved in a more hands-on way (like in the ‘olden days), are family-led funeral, DIY funeral, home funeral.
- Celebrancy has been described as one of the fastest growing careers for people over 50. For more information, visit the Celebrant Institute & Foundation