"Hail and Farewell:" All the Necessities for a Personalized Memorial

By Susan Fraser -December 04,2015

Hail and Farewell book

When people start to plan for their final rest, they often look to tradition and family experience to get ideas for how they may want to plan a memorial ceremony. However, with the dramatic increase in the popularity of cremation since the 1950's, many people cannot rely on memorial ceremonies of family members and friends to set a precedent. Just a couple of generations ago, cremation was quite uncommon in the U.S. It will become the norm in just a few years, which means that there are a lot of families out there who need guidance and even basic instruction on the best ways to hold a memorial ceremony. Hosts often know that memorial ceremonies are more open than a traditional funeral and burial, but they want more information. That is the goal of Gail Rubin and Susan Fraser, with the new print book, “Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips.”

A Guide to Cremation Ceremonies

Because so many families are new to the idea of cremation and how it works, Rubin and Fraser walk families through the basic process to foster a greater sense of understanding. The first chapter gives people information about what cremation does, the kinds of arrangements and paperwork families will need to complete in order for the cremation to happen, as well as some ways to minimize the cost of cremation. This chapter also provides guidance on the transport and legal considerations regarding the disposition of ashes. While scattering ashes is a popular part of many memorial ceremonies, there are rules and laws that must be followed in the scattering or burial of ashes. With this information in mind, readers can start to consider the many options available for planning memorial ceremonies.

A Reference for Memorial Planning

Memorials often contain many of the same elements as a funeral, but the content and the delivery can be quite distinct and vary widely across different kinds of memorials. The remaining chapters of “Hail and Farewell” offer ideas for the ways that ashes may be disposed, both historic and modern. They also show options for speeches, relating stories, music and general templates for the format of the memorial service. Rubin and Fraser recognize that their suggestions are merely ideas that readers can consider and incorporate into memorial services however they would like. After reading the book, families have many options to consider, as well as new ways of conceiving the memorial service as a whole.

Breaking Outside the Memorial Box

In recent years, people have expressed the desire to host a memorial ceremony that is not simply traditional in nature. Rubin and Fraser have made plenty of accommodation for memorial planners who want the traditional or the unexpected. As such, they give information about scattering ashes by plane, a memorial that involves scattering ashes at the summit of a tall mountain, beach memorials and other themes that might suit the desires of readers wanting a more personalized approach.

“Hail and Farewell”

Rubin and Fraser believe that memorials are meant for the grieving, which means that the memorial should maximize the ability of attendees to express their love and their grief. The new title for the print edition of the book hearkens to this belief, through the immortal words of the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus. Catullus wrote a short poem over 2,000 years ago to memorialize his bitter anguish over his brother’s death. They placed the poem in the book as an epigram to remind readers that they are not alone in feeling lost in planning an ideal send-off for a loved one. The sadness and frustration at this incredible loss becomes a wonderful opportunity to gather together as a family and friends to share their grief and say goodbye one last time.

Buyers can order “Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips” from:

Certain bookstores will also make the book available for special order, for interested customers. Cremation allows families to create a memorial service that provides them with just the right opportunity to bid a final farewell. However, this broad spectrum of memorial options can be intimidating to families looking to plan a wonderful memorial. Gail Rubin and Susan Fraser solve this problem through their book “Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips.” With this print book, readers get the instruction and guidance they need to plan a memorial service that is engaging, appropriate and enjoyable for all. For more resources, check out our eBooks: Celebrating Life: How to Cremate Meaningful Memorial Services

Stories From Funeral Celebrants: Celebrating the Life While Mourning the Death


Wed, 07/13/2016 - 18:20

I thought it was interesting that there are rules and laws that must be followed in the scattering or burial of ashes. When I think of cremation, I thought that you could just take the ashes anywhere you would like. Some families even keep an urn with the ashes in it to represent the passed loved one.

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