For many humanist celebrants memorial ceremonies are the most important events they officiate at. This is because death is such a momentous event with a lot of emotion attached to it. How the aftermath is handled can leave lasting impressions on the bereaved loved ones and the task of the celebrant is to make sure that the memorial ceremony is a positive experience which is appropriate for the occasion.
For humanists, death is a natural part of human experience, and while it is important to acknowledge the sadness which is inevitable at the departure of a loved one, the memorial ceremony is a celebration of the life, achievements and personality of the person who has died. So during the ceremony, memories will be shared and favourite music and poetry will be read. Photographs may be displayed or other memorabilia which illustrate the life which is being celebrated. Often, some people will have made their wishes for a humanist funeral known during their lifetimes, and that makes it easier for the organizers.
For those who believe in an after-life, the prospect of meeting a dead loved one again offers some consolation. Humanists believe that this life is all there is, but for me, a person is not truly gone as long as he or she is held in the memory of those who loved him or her.
Memorial ceremonies may be held in the family home, the funeral home, crematorium, hotel or other venue depending on the wishes of the family or the wishes of the person who has died.