With religion on a downslide, what will take the place of religious funeral traditions? Services at funeral homes in Tamaqua, PA, and, in fact, the entire funeral service industry are built on traditions. Most of these traditions originated in religion, be it Judaism, Christianity, or another belief system. But what happens now? How can those suffering from a loss find richness and meaning in death?
Rituals might be the answer. A ritual is defined as “a repeated pattern of behavior performed at specified times”, and it often includes the use of symbols, rites, and actions.” Rituals have long been used in both religious and general cultural situations. Take, for example, Día De Los Muertos, visiting a lost loved one at a cemetery, or performing Last Rites on someone who is dying. All of these rituals fit the definition, but they also offer lots of benefits for those that perform them.
Rituals are powerful because they offer a wide range of benefits. Specifically, they give us space to process a loss. In a grief study performed by Harvard University, researchers discovered that it wasn’t just traditional rituals that helped people going through a loss. They also learned that personal rituals played a large role in helping with grief. These personal rituals might seem useless or silly to the outside word, but to the mourner, they had immense meaning and healing power. Little acts from washing a car to going for a walk have the bereaved space to emotionally process the loss. Though they reported feeling sad during the ritual itself, they mostly reported feeling better and lighter afterward.
Rituals also bring people together. As said by expert Tracey Wallace from Eterneva, “Mourning rituals and ceremonies are meant to bring people together, to take the hands of those mourning the loss and lead them astray from isolation”. People often feel along after losing a loved one, but rituals can help them feel connected to other people and part of a community. As The Conversation wrote, “Using familiar words and actions in an unfamiliar situation can help us find our way through it”. During a grief study done by Harvard, the scientists discovered that people who experienced little or no grief symptoms within one month of losing someone they loved all performed rituals. The experts believe that the rituals helped with the grief symptoms because they gave the bereaved a chance to mourn the loss, celebrate life, and process their grief.
Rituals give us a feeling of control. We don’t have much control over life or death, but rituals help us feel like we have control, which can go a long way toward comforting us. In that same Harvard study, the participants that performed a ritual reported feeling that “things were in check’ and less likely to feel ‘helpless’, ‘powerless’, and ‘out of control”.
Do you know which kind of will is best for you and your needs? After all, there are different kinds of wills just like there are different kinds of funeral homes in Tamaqua, PA. These are a few of the most common:
- Online Platform Wills – There are several online platforms that help you create your own official will. These platforms, like Willful, allow you to tailor your will to your exact needs while still maintaining status as official and legally recognized. These platforms are a good idea if you have a simple estate and won’t need any legal advice, or if you want to get started early on your will and come back to edit it later on in life. These platforms do charge for their service, but most include free will updates in the initial cost.
- Will Kits – Similar to online platforms, will kits are fill-in-the-blank documents that allow you to fill in information about your estate to create a simple will. These documents are one-size-fits-all and don’t offer much space to customize or personalize your will, so they probably aren’t a good solution if you have a complex estate or specific needs. Also, you will have to purchase a new will kit every time you need to make changes because you get married, have children, get a divorce, or any other big life event.
- Holographic Will – A holographic will is simply a handwritten will that you sign and date. These wills are not witnessed. While this may seem like a simple and cost-effective option, a holographic will can present a few issues. For example, these kinds of wills aren’t officially recognized in many states. Plus, as many people don’t have legal backgrounds, these wills might be missing important will components and legal language. However, holographic wills are better than no will at all.
- Lawyer Drafted Wills – The best kind of will is one that’s made with the help of a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer to handle your will is best because it means the document will not only be official but it will also be customized to fit your specific needs. Making a will with a lawyer is also best if you have a complex estate, like if you have assets in multiple countries, a child with a disability, or are separated but not divorced. It’s important to note that hiring a lawyer to draft your will can get pricey – with many lawyers charging over $800 for a basic will service. However, in the long run, the money might be worth it to know that your affairs will be properly handled after you’re gone.
Unfortunately, many people pass away without leaving a will. If this happens, the government will use its estate laws to handle your estate and will appoint its own executor to take care of the details. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, most people prefer to have control over their own affairs rather than leave things to the state. So, no matter which kind of will you want, be sure to choose one.