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Unit 1 – What is a funeral?

The author, educator, and grief counsellor Dr Alan Wolfelt established that a funeral service can fulfil a number of important requirements:

  • They provide for the dignified and respectful care of the deceased
  • They help us acknowledge that someone loved has died
  • They allow us to say goodbye
  • They provide a support system (for family and friends of the deceased person)
  • They allow reflection on the meaning of life and death; and
  • offers continuity and hope for the living

Dr Wolfelt developed the ‘Hierarchy of the Purpose of Funerals’ to help us understand the different ways in which funerals meet an important need in society:

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