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How To Plan A Meaningful Funeral Service

Written by: Dani Green, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Dani Green

As an ordained minister and a certified celebrant, I am honored to have officiated many Celebrations of Life Memorial Tribute Funeral Services. I led a Grief Support Group at a local Senior Center. I have also faced the grief of losing my parents and other family members.

Red and white candles

The grief journey

The journey of grief is a path no one wants to take. Saying goodbye to the physical presence of our loved ones is one of the most challenging experiences of our lives. It feels so final and devastating to let go of the relationship you had with your loved one. From a distance, we understand that death is part of life, but the reality is so difficult to endure. Love gives us the power to live and is what makes death bearable. Love is our Path.


The grief journey is different for everyone. Our life experiences, the complexities of our relationships, and our psyche impact the depth and breadth of our experience with grief. Grief is expressed and experienced in many different ways. Tears are not a sign of weakness but Love and Healing. Each tear is new and serves a purpose. Memories of our loved ones are one of life's deepest treasures.


How I assist the grieving

Experiencing a meaningful Celebration of Life Memorial Tribute service is vital in the grief journey. An essential aspect of the service is telling the loved one's life story and representing their worldview. Another important aspect is that the Pastor or Celebrant provides structure for the service. Thirdly, the leader's loving presence is essential and helps the family navigate this event in the grief journey.


When facilitating a Family Consultation meeting, I ask, "Tell me about your Loved One." I ask questions that prompt the family to tell their story. I write down almost everything said during the family consultation in order to craft their memories into a meaningful service.


Next, I go through a list of service components and let the family decide what they want and in what order the aspects of the service should be. I then ask questions about what the venue will provide and what will happen immediately after the service to communicate with the attendees.


Avoid this myth about your pastor or celebrant when planning a funeral service

A myth about the Pastor or Celebrant officiating the service is they know the right thing to say. Even the most spiritual among us might sometimes use an illustration or have a worldview that does not represent the life of your loved one or your family values.


To make sure everything about the service text is meaningful, I email a first draft of the service to the family member who hires me. This vital step in planning a service assures the family that they can edit or add to the service I write. Upon their review, I am comfortable presenting a heartfelt service the family approves. For the family, reading the service text beforehand helps alleviate stress, helps them know what to expect, and better prepares them for the day.


On the day of, I show up at the venue at the same time as the family to be a calm and peaceful presence for them. I locate the staff if the family has a question about the venue. I have even protected family members from potentially uncomfortable interactions with extended family.


I prepare a stylized clear plastic archival-quality envelope for the family member who hires me. After the service, I stylize the text and email it, so they have a Keepsake copy.


Scripture or poem

Depending on the family's worldview, I can include a scripture or a poem.


The life story

The life story of a loved one can be told in two different ways. Their life events can be recounted chronologically, and then the obituary can be read. The obituary can structure the life story by weaving life events into the obituary text. The loved one's life story should be the main focus of the service. The family will be reminded, and the friends will be delighted by learning of their interests, hobbies, family stories, work history, and the contribution to humankind the loved one brought to the world.


Photo tribute

The photo tribute is integral to the service because it helps bring memories to the family and friends' attention. I include the names of the songs played in the final Service text.


The sharing of memories

The sharing of memories is an integral part of a service that provides moments of both tears and laughter. I do not transcribe this portion of the service. I encourage the family to include prepared speeches in the stylized envelope plastic sleeve if a speech is written out.


A message of love

I share a message of love and pass out red acrylic hearts to remind everyone that love is eternal and ever-present. Love is the strongest force in the Universe. Love surrounds us. As we all love each other, we share the love experienced through the loved one's life. Love is as real as the air we breathe. Love is always for us all.


A legacy statement

I write a legacy statement summarizing the benefit the loved one brought to the world and what we can carry into our lives to make the world even better. I am often challenged and instructed to live better because I have experienced the legacy of a life well-lived.


A closing statement

Family and friends must understand that their loved one is still close to them spiritually, even though not physically. We each have a place within ourselves where love dwells in our souls. Our loved one's soul is untethered from their body. We can imagine our loved ones' love is present in our lives, moment by moment.


As a closing statement, I say, "And finally, in as much as our loved one was taken out of this physical world, we lovingly commit their spirit to the skies and their body to the earth. As we experience sorrow even more, we remember times of laughter and joy. We do not say 'goodbye.' We say, 'I will see you later.' Until we meet again'. May God bless and strengthen you all with love."


If I can be a resource, book a call

The journey of grief is difficult. I trust this information is helpful. If I can be a resource to you, please contact me here.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Dani Green Brainz Magazine

Dani Green, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dani Green is a certified hypnotherapist, speaker, author and spiritual activist. Dani’s core focus and passion is to guide clients to rewrite the past, present, and future Story they tell themselves at the subconscious level and to discover their own Inner Mantras.

Dani has a 12-session course called The Soul Power Experience. The courses, Be Smoke Free and One & D.O.N.E. Weight Release are each six sessions. Dani also offers Intuitive sessions.

Dani opened her hypnotherapy practice in 2015 and uses client-centered hypnotherapy, as well as The Emotion Code, PSYCH-K, and RIM.



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