St John’s Winchester Charity

Ways to say goodbye

Ways to say goodbye

My father passed away 7 years ago and, despite his son being a funeral director, our family still had very little clue as to what he wanted at his service. So what chance does everyone else have?

It’s not an easy topic of conversation, but most families should have a discussion, at some point, to decide on what sort of funeral they would prefer. It might be a very brief conversation at the pub ‘I would rather be buried/cremated’… or even ‘ I really don’t care, I won’t be around’ but at least it’s a start. Don’t underestimate how many times we hear from bereaved families that they have been left no instructions.

There is no legal obligation to hold a funeral service at all. But here are some ideas to get you thinking

A religious funeral: Whatever your religion, the customs and traditions of a familiar structured service can offer great peace of mind in your place of worship. There is flexibility to add personal touches such as musical or spoken tributes. If you haven’t been to church for a while, it doesn’t matter. They are well suited to large gatherings and the service has no time limit.

A non or ‘less’ religious funeral: In recent years funerals have edged away from the ‘very traditional’. The emphasis is on the life of the person, not the beliefs of the person officiating. The service will reflect their character through words, music and personal reminiscences.

Green and woodland funerals: These are environmentally friendly alternative to traditional burials. Biodegradable coffins are used in woodland settings and a tree or wooden plaques replace traditional headstones. A good example is The South Downs Natural Burial Site in East Meon.

Burial at Sea: While not widely encouraged, burials can be performed off the western end of the Isle of Wight. We will handle all the paperwork for you and it’s not as expensive as one might imagine.

Crematorium Service: This can be either religious or non-religious and you can nominate your own minister/celebrant, or we will do this for you. Local crematoriums include Havant, Portchester, West End, Southampton and Romsey. They vary in price and appearance.

Leaving instructions makes it straightforward. Unlike my dad, please give your family a clue.