The Importance of Ceremony

The Importance of Ceremony

We've all been there. A time in life that feels so big ... so important ... that the only way to truly express what is in our hearts is through a ceremony.

From the sweet ritual of candles on a cake, the pomp of a school graduation, to the stately and solemn reading of names every September 11—ceremony acknowledges life's significant milestones.

Ceremonies have the power to heal, to connect, to share our love and express that we care. Ceremonies allow us to say, "Life is important."

Following a death, the role of a ceremony is vital. For many, a longstanding tradition brings great comfort — a visitation, a prayer service, a Mass or other church service, and the graveside burial are rituals that bring loved ones together. Some families follow specific ethnic rituals, such as dressing the deceased, having an icon at the casket or burning incense. Other families prefer newer traditions, for instance a family celebration of life at the funeral home or scattering cremated remains in a special place.

Uniquely Desmond. Uniquely You.

We witness the positive impact of ceremony every day. It's no surprise, because we design our ceremonies to do just that. Our commitment to creating meaningful ceremonies is an important reason families choose A.J. Desmond & Sons.

For some families, strong religious and ethnic traditions dictate the remembrance ceremonies. We have extensive experience in Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist rituals. For other families, remarkably, personal ceremony is most important part. They expect ceremonies that celebrate the uniqueness of their loved one and their family.

Many families combine traditional ceremonies with personal touches. We work closely with each family to provide a most meaningful experience in the manner they expect.

What is Right for Me?

As you consider a ceremony, a few questions to think about are:

  • What are your family traditions?
  • Are you going to follow particular religious or ethnic traditions?
  • Would you like a funeral in church or at the funeral home? Is there another special place you would like to gather?
  • Do you want opportunities to share memories?
  • Did your loved one share any wishes? Are these meaningful to you?
  • What do you especially cherish about the deceased?
  • What is important to your other family members?
  • What other aspects about the deceased's life do you want to share and honor?

Funeral services typically have the deceased present in a casket and usually occur within a few days after a death.

Memorial Services may happen any time after a death and the deceased is not present in a casket.

Know that you may have funeral services that are followed by burial or cremation or the burial or cremation may take place before a memorial service.

Honoring life and celebrating uniqueness make ceremonies meaningful. Numerous ways to personalize remembrance ceremonies exist. Visit personalizing services for some ideas to start with. Let us know how you want to commemorate your loved one; we will make it happen.


We have three convenient and beautifully decorated Oakland County locations available to you for a visitation, family gathering, funeral service or memorial service. Each is very comfortable, equipped and designed to accommodate groups of any size, and always well-staffed to receive visitors. We are proud of our facilities and invite you to visit us personally.

Online Obituaries

Sharing a life story is important. We provide all families we serve an online obituary page. You or someone you designate may write the obituary, or we will. You may add photos. Family, friends and colleagues then visit online and may leave messages in the guestbook. This obituary is often widely read and will be posted online indefinitely. If desired, it can also be shared on social media.

Military Honors

A final honor for those who have served our country valiantly, every eligible veteran may receive military honors. Please visit Veterans Service and Benefits or call us for more information about military honors, veterans benefits and eligibility.

Green Burial Services

Families interested in learning about environmentally friendly alternatives, referred to also as green burial and natural burial, need only ask us and we will offer many suggestions. Please contact us for more information.

Home Services

Until the mid-20th century, many families in the area received visitors and mourners in their family home where the deceased was laid out in a casket. For some families, this continues to be a meaningful option. To learn more, contact us.

Simple Service

For those wanting limited or minimal ceremony, we provide simple funeral and memorial services. Without compromising care and dignity, we work with you to address your particular wants and needs while offering exceptional value.

Immediate Cremation or Burial

There are some who wish to cremate or bury their loved one with no public ceremony. You will find the dignified and caring services we provide very worthwhile. We offer a private family viewing and many other options that make A.J. Desmond & Sons a meaningful choice for your family.

Gift of Life

When a family chooses organ donation, we work closely with the organ donation organization to coordinate the compassionate and dignified care of the deceased. Following organ donation, a family may choose the remembrance services they desire. Organ donation does not preclude a traditional funeral with visitation. Please call us for more information.

Medical School Donation

We assist families when there is a donation of the deceased to a medical school. We provide transportation to the University of Michigan or Michigan State Medical Schools, and can assist with details at Wayne State University. We will also help plan any remembrance services your family desires. Please know that a body donation does not preclude ceremony. Contact us to learn more.

Funeral Luncheon

After the final service, many families have a tradition of gathering and sharing a meal and memories together. The luncheon or reception may be at a family home, a favorite restaurant, or a special place. Flowers and photo boards may decorate the space. In our experience, this can be a relaxing and comforting gathering. If you would like some suggestions, please ask us.

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