Have you heard of a living funeral? It is the concept of celebrating somebody’s life before they have died, in a pre-death ritual or celebration. Traditionally funerals take place after death, but why not honour a loved one in a way they can appreciate? Living funerals are becoming commonplace in the States and we’re sure the trend is set to make it to our shores next year.
What is a living funeral?
A living funeral or celebration of life can be a religious or non-religious event. It can be organised by the person in question, or by their family, and is attended by all of their friends and loved ones.
The celebratory event is centred around a person who is still alive, but in many cases this person is nearing the end of their life. They may have a terminal illness or a progressive condition such as dementia, which sparks the idea of the living funeral.
There are no rules about what takes place at a living funeral – it is up to the organisers to decide on the venue and the order of events/order of service. You can include features which are often part of a traditional funeral, such as a eulogy. The person being celebrated may wish to give a speech, or attendees may give tributes to the individual. Make the event personal – read their favourite poems, serve their favourite food, play their favourite music. It’s a nice idea to include a memory table of photographs, and you may also wish to have a letterbox to post final wishes. Don’t forget that this is somebody’s last excuse for a party!
Why choose a living funeral?
It may seem like a strange idea to some, but make perfect sense to others. How many times have you attended a funeral and thought, “I wish they could be here now to see what a great send-off we’ve given them.” The person in question, who may be dying, can see for themselves how many people attend and pay their respects. It could be a time to express feelings and say final goodbyes, and let someone know how much they are loved.
Living funerals are completely personal and be casual or a formal affair. Relatives may even plan one as a surprise for a loved one, to cheer them up. You don’t even have to call it a living funeral – it’s a final party with everyone you love.