Making Big Choices Regarding Funerals

Why A Funeral Needs A Memory Table

by Andrea Rhodes

A funeral and a memorial service can be separate events, but in many cases, these occasions are consecutive, with the funeral also being the memorial. This is a perfectly valid choice since a funeral memorial offers the chance for family and friends to come together to bid farewell to the dearly departed, while also sharing memories. Funeral memorial services offer a number of ways in which these memories can be shared, whether it's by choosing to speak at the service, or simply by sharing stories with the other mourners. Another way to share memories of the deceased is to create a memory table.

A Guest Book

Many funeral memorial services feature a guest book in the foyer of the church or funeral home. This allows the traditional sharing of memories, although the format might not necessarily encourage it. Some attendees will simply add their names to the guest book, treating it like a registry of sorts. Others might wish to add some sentiments about how the deceased touched their lives. A memory table should include a guest book, but this is only a starting point.

Writing Paper and Envelopes

A creative and meaningful touch is to encourage the recording of a personal memory at the memory table. Provide writing paper and envelopes, and suggest guests might want to note down a brief personal memory of the deceased. These could be formatted as a short letter to the deceased, which can then be sealed in an envelope. As to what happens next, you have a couple of choices. The family of the deceased can take possession of the letters to read them later. Alternatively, the letters could be placed inside the coffin and buried or cremated, creating a means for the deceased to be laid to rest with all these well wishes and special memories with them.

Selected Photos

It's traditional to have a portrait photo of your loved one displayed prominently at the service, but this idea can be expanded for the memory table. Consider a selection of photos, showing your loved one at various stages of life—as a young child, a young adult, in their career, and in their later years. You could also add photos of certain milestones, such as graduation, or with their own children as babies. These photos can be framed and placed on the memory table, or assembled into a collage to be hung behind the memory table. 

A memory table at a funeral service is a heartfelt way to share those special memories of a cherished loved one. To get more ideas for a funeral memorial, reach out to a local funeral home.