Sometimes, a long, drawn-out memorial service isn’t needed, but you want to say something about the deceased. Here’s a structure for a short, but meaningful service that covers the “Four Rs” of a good memorial service: Recognize the death, Remember the person, Reaffirm beliefs and Release the spirit.
Feel free to add readings and play music that reflects the spirit of the person who died to add depth and emotional impact.
We are assembled here today to pay respects to our honored dead — to remember the life and mark the death of (name). He/she had an impact on all of us, so we take this brief time to recognize his/hear death. He/she was __ years old when (manner of death) took him/her from our midst.
(Name) would have wanted us to not make a big fuss, and so we’ll keep our observance today short and sweet.
These words describe (name): List three to five words, then tell a short story about why each word is a potent descriptor of the deceased and his/her character.
The theologian William Barclay said, “When I die, I should like to slip out of the room without fuss – for what matters is not what I am leaving, but where I am going.” (Name) knew what mattered in life, and he/she has left us to remember what matters after his/her death.
(If appropriate for the beliefs of those gathered) The soul or spirit sheds its earthly body as a tree sheds its leaves, and creates for itself another covering, in another sphere, as the tree grows new leaves. Death is not the end of existence, but merely the cessation of the earthly phase of life. It is a corner we turn to reach a perfect, peaceful spiritual life.
As the Beatles so eloquently sang, “All you need is love.” Let us extend our love for (name) in our daily interactions, and by keeping their love alive in our hearts, they never truly die.
Another possible reading is this statement by Benjamin Franklin about life and death at The Family Plot Blog.
(Name), we bless your memory with great love for you, for you have written your love upon our hearts. Go your way in peace and may your memory be a blessing to all who knew you.
As appropriate, you might raise a toast: To the life and adventures of (name)!
This short, informal memorial service can precede a scattering ceremony for cremated remains. After the service, socializing with food and drink is a great way to share additional stories and memories about the deceased.
This template is included in Gail Rubin’s book, Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips. The book is available on Amazon for $10.00.
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