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Capturing the essence of a person’s life in a few hours can be overwhelming. You may find that you don’t know where to start. More than anything, you want this service to do justice to the life lost, and bring sweet memories and comfort to those attending. Here are some great ideas to help in your mission, and involve other loved ones, family, friends, co-workers, and organizational relationships”

Use social media to your benefit. Create a group message, and ask those who are on your social lists to add others who may want to participate.

Ask those who will be coming to send photos. If they have electronic copies, great! Use them in a slide show. If they only have hard copies, then write their names on the back or use sticky dots to signify ownership. Have them address a manila envelope so that you can return them. You may find that there are a lot of photos which were unknown to others who might like copies. Consider scanning the whole collection before you return them. Add those to the electronic file. When you send them back, include a flash drive of the memories.

Find a creative way to display photos. Attach them to ribbons tied to helium-filled balloons, and let them move around the room. People will enjoy seeking them out and looking at the pictures. Or, place them on the seats in the room, and as people are seated, they will start passing them around.

Don’t be afraid to ask those who would like loaded flash drives to bring one with their name on it, and a self-addressed media envelope. They can stamp it or leave postage money inside. Collect them, and just mail them out together when the loading is complete.

Ask everyone to write down a memory that they cherish. Create a scrapbook of these memories to display, and once again, these can be scanned and included on the flash drives.

Did your loved one have gifts or talents? Were they woodworkers, crocheters, seamstresses? Ask your group to bring something that they possess which was created by them for the ceremony. A display of these personal gifts will invoke many memories.

Was this special person a gifted cook? Center the refreshment table around those recipes which were loved and often requested. Ask your group to bring one of the recipes that reminds them of your family member, and bring the recipe. If you have a collection of recipes, print up memory cookbooks. Many families have treasured cooking methods which are remembered, but the actual recipe has been lost. Keep the memories alive by recreating them in book form for future generations.

What is the difference between a celebration of life and a memorial service? Joy. Each of us has a chance to leave a mark on future generations. When you think of the imprint your loved one made, celebrate it. Be creative, and turn the mourning over loss into a true celebration of who this person was, and what will spark memories in the future. Create not only a service which is received well, but also take the time to share those memories with all who would like them. This is a gift only you can give.

Ascension Funeral Group serves the Mobile, Alabama area with funeral and cremation services, grief support, pre-planning, and more. Visit us online at! Call us anytime at 251-634-8055 or connect with Ascension Funerals & Cremations and Forest Lawn Funeral Home on Facebook and Twitter!