Should I Send A Funeral Invitation?
I’ve never received a funeral invitation. At first thought, the idea of sending an invitation to a funeral seems, well, a little unusual. However, if we’d like to change an ingrained ideology from mourning death to celebrating life then we should redefine how we announce death. There is a great amount of fear rooted in the idea of death and funerals. If we treated death more like a celebration and a natural transition from one phase of life to another– everlasting life–wouldn’t a celebration be called for?
Celebrating Begins with the Invitation
We send invitations for communions, birthdays, confirmations, anniversary parties, weddings, graduations, bar mitzvahs, and other events that honor life transitions, so why not death? It is reasonable and justified to celebrate a lifetime–a lifetime that touched others; a lifetime that was unique; a lifetime that was special and loved. The celebration begins with the invitation.
Keeping Funerals an Open Affair
There is another side to this debate–the side that believes funerals should remain solemn ceremonies, and a funeral invitation is in poor taste. The newspaper obituary used to be the most popular way to announce a loved one’s passing. The funeral was considered an open affair where the entire community was extended an invite to pay their respects and bid farewell to the deceased. Keeping a funeral open allowed people who were influenced by the deceased, but unknown to family and friends, to attend. The nature of an invitation is that it creates a private event; and therefore, may exclude people who would otherwise be present at the funeral.
According to Adage.com, however, “Traditional obits, written by dedicated reporters, have become so rare that only a few mainstream print outlets in the U.S., including the Times, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press, have substantial operations.”
It’s been years since most people found out about a death through a local newspaper obituary. Instead, they receive word via Facebook, text, call, or word-of-mouth.
Announcing A Death On Facebook – Is It the Right Medium?
Conversely, they also fail to receive word as the digital age has left a noticeable void in death notification. Facebook’s mission is to build community and bring the world closer together, not provide death notifications.
“Facebook puts up lots of obituaries but doesn’t keep track and hasn’t automated a way to alert a user’s Facebook friends to his or her death.”
Suggested Read: Death On Facebook: Is It The Right Medium For Grief?