At the Coopérative funéraire de l'Outaouais, we believe it is important to guide families through the organization of meaningful funeral rites. Our team of advisers is attentive and ready to support you in preserving and honoring the memory of the deceased, in accordance with your beliefs and your particular needs.
The CFO is evolving in step with social factors that affect and modify the behavior of local people, which often bring up some fundamental questions.
Originally, funeral rites served very specific functions: they gave expression to certain ideas and emotions. At a time when community is yielding more and more to individualism, funeral rites are sometimes dispatched at speed, as if acting on a desire to forget the death quickly. Arrangements are often made at the pace of modern life, and neglect to properly celebrate the life of the person who has passed on. Many people are also inclined to plan very expeditious services for themselves, out of concern to reduce the bother for their family members when the time comes. Yet such actions may actually have unfavorable consequences for the very people we want to protect.
It is important to realize that the funeral service is not for the person who has gone, but for the people left behind. This is a fundamental thing to understand.
Experience shows that funeral rites help to give meaning to the loss, to tighten the bonds in one’s circle, and to facilitate the process of mourning in various ways. Certain rites such as the visitation, the service (whether religious or not) and the post-service reception allow the bereaved to feel the support and friendship of their relatives and friends. They are ways to share memories, express emotions and make a good start on the mourning process.
Each culture has its own characteristic funeral rites. In Quebec, these generally proceed through the following stages:
Visitation in the funeral parlor
The visitation consists in paying a final tribute to the deceased by visiting the casket. It also allows the community to express their empathy and support for the bereaved family. For a few years, the tendency has been to incorporate this practice into the funeral service, and so the family is present in the church a few minutes in advance to receive condolences.
The funeral service
The ceremony has various kinds of significance, according to the different cultures found in Quebec. In most cases, the purpose of the service is the eternal repose of the soul of the deceased. It also is an occasion for the bereaved to show their grief.
At the end of the service, those present form a cortege to leave the church. The cortege continues on foot or by car to the cemetery. The procession is the last physical passage of the mortal remains in public, surrounded by family and friends. For the family of the deceased, the procession is the last journey with the deceased.
The post-funeral reception
The reception after the funeral service allows the family of the deceased to share their memories over a meal or lunch. In a more convivial and less formal context than the church or funeral parlour, the reception is an opportunity for the bereaved to share their emotions and take advantage of the support of those around them.
Disposition of the body
The disposition of the body marks the end of the mortuary process. It is the consignment of the body to its final resting place, and can take place in various ways. The remains may be placed in the ground, in a crypt or in a mausoleum. If they are cremated, the ashes are interred or placed in a columbarium. Unlike the body which must be buried in the cemetery, ashes may be disposed of in any way one wishes. For example, they can be kept at home or scattered to the winds.
The memorial ceremony
The memorial generally takes place a few days or weeks after the death. It consists in paying homage to the deceased through a commemorative ceremony at the church (memorial mass), in the funeral home, at the cemetery, at home, etc.
The funeral sector, like many others, is evolving and changing. At the Coopérative funéraire de l'Outaouais, we strive to promote this evolution when it allows people to better experience the events affecting them.
Increasingly, people want to personalize funeral services for the loved one who has just passed. They want the ceremonies to be a tailored event, one that is connected to what the deceased person was and to what they themselves are experiencing at the time.
In other circumstances – births, anniversaries, marriages – we do things that express our feelings, that are ways of experiencing and sharing our feelings. When a death occurs, is it not desirable to do the same? We believe that this is one way of moving forward through bereavement. Taking personal action allows us to "live" what is happening to us, with more self-awareness. The funeral services should call to mind the deceased, their life and their loves. The service allows the family to give concrete expression to what they are feeling.
Personalizing means organizing and taking actions that make the funeral personal, whether during the visitation, during the service, at the moment of interment or in the reception hall. Personal effects of the deceased or actions characteristic of the persons involved can express feelings and recall happy, precious moments in the lives of individuals and families.
At the visitation, personal items can be brought to the funeral parlor and displayed near the casket, such as photographs, souvenirs, a video, etc. One of the family members may perform some act of tribute, compose or read a thought or a prayer. It is possible to personalize this event in a way that is in keeping with who the deceased was and what the family is feeling. The very choice of the type of arrangements, visitation, cremation, etc., is a good demonstration of how each person wants to express his or her feelings: this is a choice which in fact determines how those left behind will live the loss of the loved one.
We are sensitive and open to such concerns. Often it is possible to change the ways things are usually done to incorporate your beliefs, your choices and your wishes. It is our task to facilitate this personalization so that the funeral service is a rite adapted to the circumstances and so that it can make the mourning process easier. The feelings of each person are realities which we do well to allow each person to experience in his or her own way.