The Value of Gathering

Posted on June 05, 2014

Visitations, funerals and memorial services, now often called ‘Celebrations of Life,’ revere the recently deceased.  These events give family, friends and community members the opportunity to come together and recognize the life that was.

While these gatherings and celebrations are about the death of a loved one, they are for the family, dear friends and community.  It is for the survivors who have a need to find peace with the recent loss of life.

The value of gathering and celebrating a life lived is a conversation we have with families daily.  We discuss the benefits of reliving the stories, the reaffirmation of their faith, and the sharing of what an impact the person had on the world around them. 

Many people often underestimate the impact of a gathering to celebrate a recently departed life.  Often we hear, “just throw me in the ground and call it good.”  They think they are doing the family a favor by minimalizing their own services.  Is it really helping the family and friends?  Does denying loved ones the chance to gather with the community make it easier to cope?  In most cases, it does not.  

Recently, I have reflected on this more after the death of one of our staff.  He was a very quiet, reserved individual who had only worked with us for a short time.  He had never been married and did not have any children.  However, his impact on his family, friends and his community was much larger than I ever could have guessed. 

The visitation was a steady stream for almost four hours and the line stretched to the door for most of the night.  The memorial service filled the chapel with family and friends from near and far.  Two of his dearest friends came back home to read eulogies about the incredible impact this quiet soul had on their lives and on the lives of others. 

Both of these gentlemen had everyone in the chapel crying and laughing, often at the same time.  We got to see through their eyes what a warm, loving and rich life he had lead.  Everyone in attendance got to enjoy the stories and keep these memories near their hearts.  The chapel was filled with love and a true sense of community.

This gathering and celebration gave the family and friends the strength to move ahead while finding their new normal.  These events gave the community a better reflection of the life and the man he was.  These remembrances gave us a chance to hit the pause button, reflect upon the impact one person can make upon the lives of others.  I realized these services were about the death of a man, but were for the family, the friends, the community, and for us.

Jack Locke


Leave a comment

Plan a Gathering & 

Celebrate a life that has been lived and has touched so many.

Play button icon. Click to plan a gathering or celebration.

Services and

Browse our online catalog of products and services we offer.

Play button icon. Click to view Services and Merchandise.

Local Grief Support

Find a support group to help you cope with grief.

Play button icon. Click to plan a gathering or celebration.