A wake is seen as a little old-fashioned sometimes, but they have been done for hundreds of years all around the world for a reason.
After the pain of someone’s passing and the formal sadness of a funeral, the wake is like a defined end to this part of the grieving process. Gives people a chance to exhale, to talk about their loved ones, raise a glass and feel like they are not alone in grieving for them. There is unlikely to be another event where the missing person is the reason to all get together, from now it’s in ones and twos with conversations often in small bursts and hushed tones.
Not today, today we can have a big photo, speeches if people eat, swap stories, hug each other, laugh, cry and even dance.
The funeral is saying goodbye, a wake can be a celebration of a missing friend.
It doesn’t have to be big. it can be at someone’s home, a back room in a pub, a room in a hotel. Catered by yourself of the guests if you want to. get drinks in, or don’t – the whole point is there are no rules. a bunch of people in a garden with teas and cake, or 150 people in a posh restaurant – the venue and style really don’t matter . the important part is getting together.
We have unfortunately had to arrange two in recent years, both done immediately after the funeral service at a local hotel in the afternoon. A small buffet and background music to ease the silence. Both events were actually really nice and if the phrase ” A nice send-off” was ever accurate, this was it.
Dans had family, friends and loads of work colleagues, his employer basically closed that day
So if you are undecided, I would say do it. You don’t get a second chance and you will very probably never see some of their friends and colleagues again, so make an effort and go for it.
Get a book of remembrance, or even just a nice notepad with their name on it and ask people to write things. You may not be able to read it for years but when you do it’s a real source of warmth and a reminder they were loved and are missed.