Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes, or so said Benjamin Franklin. Yes, death is a certainty—about the only certainty in human existence—but does this mean a funeral is also a certainty? Whether it's a burial or cremation, this finality, when combined with the funeral service, can form an essential part of grieving. After all, it's the final farewell. But what about when a loved one passes away and clearly stipulated that they didn't want a funeral at all?
No Funeral Was Wanted
It's an individual's choice to have a funeral or not, and the reasons can be entirely their own. They might want to slip away quietly and unceremoniously, or they might simply not like the idea of being a reason for the collective grief of their loved ones. They might have just been an intensely private person. Funeral or not, your loved one will be grieved, and this is unavoidable. The funeral itself can be avoided, however. But this doesn't mean that there doesn't have to be a service.
Private Burial and Cremation
Whether or not there's a funeral service, the remains of the deceased will need to be buried or cremated. Funeral directors can make the necessary arrangements, such as a perfunctory burial with no mourners, wherein the casket is buried with no mourners in attendance, just with the necessary staff and equipment to perform the service. Likewise, the body can simply be cremated as soon as the funeral home receives it. Though uncommon, it's not entirely unheard of. When David Bowie passed away in January 2016, his body was privately cremated with no mourners in attendance, which was in line with his wishes. While this might be what your loved one would have wanted, what about those left behind who need to deal with their grief?
A Memorial Service
You can still have a memorial service for your loved one, although it won't necessarily be a formal funeral service. It can be a casual get together at someone's home or another appropriate venue, comparable to a wake, where mourners can share memories and celebrate the life of the deceased. If your loved one was cremated, this memorial could be combined with a scattering of the ashes. It's not a funeral in the general sense of the idea, but it's still a chance to say goodbye.
Just because your loved one didn't want a proper funeral, it doesn't mean that you can't give them a proper send-off while still respecting their wishes.