Do Funerals Matter? Dead Serious Grief Expert Says Yes

Jul 15, 2013 | 2 comments

Dr. Bill Hoy, grief and funeral expert

Dr. Bill Hoy, grief and funeral expert

A growing number of families in the U.S. increasingly perceive funeral rites as unessential after a death. They are dead wrong.

Recent research confirms what clinicians have long observed – funerals fulfill critical psychological and social needs following a death. Families that skip holding a funeral may suffer emotional consequences by not processing acute grief with a death ritual.

Grief counselor and death educator William G. Hoy, DMin, FT, will discuss the purposes and practices of death rituals on A Good Goodbye Radio this Wednesday, July 17. Download the podcast!

Dr. Bill Hoy has studied funeral rites for three decades. He examines how they are used around the world to help mourners make sense of death and to negotiate the radical changes that come about in the aftermath of a loved person’s death. He has worked as a clergyman, pastoral counselor, and scholar in congregation, hospice, bereavement center and university settings. The author of several books, his latest is Do Funerals Matter?

Topics covered in Do Funerals Matter? to be discussed during the show include:

  • The five anchors for effective death rituals – significant symbols, gathered community, ritual action, cultural heritage and the body’s presence;
  • What makes funerals valuable for processing grief;
  • The business of funerals and consumer issues;
  • How to use ritual in grief counseling;
  • How American death rituals compare to other cultures globally.

The Neptune Society is the sponsor for this week’s A Good Goodbye program. Now in its 40th year of service, the Neptune Society is America’s most trusted provider of cremation services. Their web site is

A Good Goodbye is an entertaining and educational weekly 60-minute online radio show on “everything you need to know before you go.” All past program podcasts on A Good Goodbye radio can be downloaded for free from iTunes or from

A Good Goodbye covers a wide range of critical information most people don’t consider until there’s a death in the family. Topics to be discussed on upcoming programs include: life planning and estate issues (July 24), Jewish funeral traditions (July 31), veterans’ death benefits (August 7) and cremation trends (August 14).

By planning ahead and having a conversation, families can reduce stress at a time of grief, minimize family conflict, save money and create a meaningful, memorable “good goodbye.” Host Gail Rubin brings a light touch to a serious subject and presents expert interviews on funeral planning issues with practical insights into the party no one wants to plan.

Sign up for a free planning form and get more information at

A Good Goodbye