They are objects that represent so much more than they appear to.
In the funeral ceremony, symbols such as the cross (for Christians; other faiths use other symbols), flowers, and candles provide points of focus for mourners.
They represent a reality that is hard to accept but that their beauty makes more approachable in this moment.
Because they represent such profound beliefs, these symbols also tend to encourage the expression of thoughts and feelings, i.e., the conversion of grief into mourning, and also the search for meaning.
Furthermore, symbols such as these provide the comfort of tradition.
Symbols represent a reality that is hard to accept but their beauty makes more approachable in this moment. Their continuity and timelessness ground mourners at a time when all seems chaotic.
Some families like to provide those who attend the funeral with a small symbolic gift reflecting the life of the person who died.
Source: Dr Alan Wolfelt