Having practiced medicine for years, I have witnessed numerous patients passing away and attended many funerals of different scale. I felt deeply the pains of the bereaved who were often at a loss and unsure how to react. Exhausted family members labour to manage their loved one’s funeral arrangements. Yet regrettably, most funerals tend to be lifeless and cold, offering little comfort to relatives and friends who have limited understanding of the deeper meaning of the funeral rituals. All these experiences bring me deep reflection on funerals.
A Unique Life Celebration
I and the Forget Thee Not team are convinced that every person’s life is unique and worthy of recognition, which should be manifested in the person’s funeral. That is why we have specially introduced the “Life Celebration” service to refocus the farewell ceremony on the recognition and appreciation for the precious life of the beloved, while ensuring emotional and practical support is provided to the bereaved. Relatives and friends can rediscover the life spirit and attitude of their loved one from different perspectives, as well as re-connect with one another and resurrect the love of the decease. In the “Life Celebration”, relatives and friends can express their thoughts about the beloved, and put down their guilt or regret. They can also offer each other encouragement and blessings, paving the way for the bereaved to step out of their grief.
Humane Funeral Concierge Service
We have also introduced the “Funeral Concierge” service. Our staff will accompany the bereaved during the process and provide assistance throughout the process of funeral arrangement, relieving their mental stress and listening to their feelings. In those especially sad moments, such as when claiming the body and collecting ashes, the Funeral Concierge will patiently keep the bereaved company. If the family members get confused or anxious about some specific funeral matters, such as taboos, our staff is available for support. We provide a 24-hour advisory service that can address urgent issues if required.
Attentiveness and Perfection
I once met a bereaved who kept dwelling on some funeral details and was unable to overcome the anxiety. Therefore, I strongly remind our Life Celebrant and Funeral Concierge to pay attention to all funeral details and with empathy, especially with respect to postmortem care, religious rituals, and the venue setting, keeping in mind both about adherence to traditional etiquette and the desire for elegance, solemnity and personal style. Our goal is to help the family create the best possible farewell ceremony.
Chinese and Western etiquette
The Forget Thee Not team believes that both traditional Chinese and Western etiquette has their heritage value. Respecting the faith of the deceased will help to comfort the bereaved’s family members. To change people’s perception, traditional funerals should be conducted in a respectful manner with the profound meaning of religious rituals, customs and taboos clearly explained to the attending relatives and friends, which should help to calm their anxiety.
Sincerity is where Beauty Lies
I have attended funerals of different scale. The ones that left the deepest impression on me were not those that were grand or elaborately decorated with a large amount of funeral supplies, but those that were carefully planned and thoughtfully carried out where I could feel the sincerity and the love of the bereaved for their loved ones. In addition to the program rundown of the funeral, the choice of funeral supplies can also demonstrate the care of the family. As far as funeral supplies are concerned, it is not a matter of quantity but quality, as reflected in their thoughtfulness, design and green spirit. Such products can be elegant, while manifesting the sincerity of the family, the designer and the manufacturer, giving the funeral an added meaning of blessings for the future generations and the creation at large.
Impermanence of life
Working in a hospital makes me deeply aware of the impermanence of life. Since the funeral is the last significant life event, why don’t we prepare for it proactively and plan properly in advance? It would allow our family to follow our own wishes and preferences in the future when handling our funeral. Planning in advance is a good way to show our care and love for our loved ones.
Chairman of Forget Thee Not
Dr. Fan Ning