How to Plan a Living Funeral
Funerals are important rituals in human life. It’s a chance for us to grieve and mourn the loss of our loved ones. It gives us time to appreciate their life and what they meant to us who remain. They are powerful events─ solemn, but filled with hope. Whether you believe in a certain faith, or simply wish to bid them farewell, funerals are our final goodbye to our loved ones.
However, for some people, funerals aren’t the end. A growing number of people are celebrating a living funeral. These events are funeral ceremonies and celebrations of life prior to an individual’s death. It may seem counterintuitive, to discuss a person’s death before they are actually gone, but there are various arguments and reasons for why someone may want to have a living funeral.
Living funerals are celebratory events in remembrance of a person’s life prior to their death. Typically those who prepare living funerals are individuals reaching an older age, or individuals who have diagnosed terminal illnesses. The event is prepared while the person is still alert and oriented, making the decision to hold the event themselves. These events can appear as a party, a family gathering, or a community event─ depending on the person’s choice.
The question still remains, however: Why would anyone want to put on their own funeral? At first glance, the idea might come off as morbid and strange, but for those who have put on their own pre-funeral, they describe it as a celebration of life. The event gives individuals who are at the final chapter of their life an opportunity to do a number of things:
1. To show appreciation to those who love them
For individuals knowing they’re going to die soon, living funerals give them the option to express their final words to their loved ones before they become more sick, and/or less able to share those sentiments with them.
2. To celebrate their life
They may also want their memory to be within their own control. Planning one’s own funeral allows a level of personalization that isn’t possible after a person’s death. For a living funeral, the event doesn’t need to have the frills and ceremony of a traditional funeral. Individuals can serve their favorite foods, host it at a meaningful place, and have a day of celebration rather than mourning.
3. To take some of the responsibility off of their surviving family and friends.
Funerals are not cheap. Some individuals may want to plan their own living funeral to share the responsibility of planning and paying for a funeral with their family. Living funerals can be more informal, making the expense of the event more flexible. If pricing is important to you, Tulip Cremation’s direct cremation package may be the right decision for your family. We offer high-quality direct cremations at low costs. Our professional team will help you through the process of collecting your loved one’s body, cremating it, and sending it back to you in a dignified and timely manner. After the individual’s passing, the family may be inclined to have a smaller, and possibly more affordable funeral, since a living funeral had already taken place.
Hosting a pre-funeral is scary. It takes a lot of courage to face your mortality. These events can range from something more subtle and intimate, to a full-blown party in celebration of their life, but either way, remember to be gracious and sensitive in their presence. It’s a sad event to say goodbye, and just because a living funeral is held in celebration, grieving is still part of the process. Living funerals are a way for many to cope with their own death. It helps individuals see loved ones they may have not seen in a while, find peace among family and friends, and also gives them an opportunity to express appreciation.
Among different cultural traditions surrounding death and dying, in Japan, a relatively recent trend among elderly individuals is the practice of seizenso. This event is akin to a living funeral, where the dying individual plans their own funeral. After the event and after passing, they expect nothing of their families after they die.
How do you plan a living funeral?
The idea of hosting your own pre-funeral is daunting, and not the right decision for everyone, but if you are interested in planning your own living funeral, or interested in sharing the idea with a loved one, we have brainstormed a few things to keep in mind when doing so. Hosting a live funeral is similar to arranging a celebration of life, or simply a party or gathering.
Think a bit about how big you want the event to be. It can be as small as a gathering between a few family and friends, or as large as an open invitation. Depending on your comfort level, a smaller event might be more manageable in size and affordability. A smaller crowd may also allow you to have more personal interactions with your guests.
That, however, doesn’t mean a large event couldn’t work. For those with large families and many friends, an open event might make more sense. An open event allows anyone interested to visit and celebrate the living funeral. You may want to send out invitations via word of mouth around your community, through an advertisement, or possibly online─ whatever works for your situation.
Where is it taking place?
Depending on how many people you invite, you will need to arrange a location that works for everyone. Choose an area that fits your crowd, possibly somewhere that reflects a part of your interests or personality. Some locations could include: a local park or garden, a restaurant, a community center, or your home.
How will you celebrate?
Because this event is all about you and your life, customize the event to suit your interests. The living funeral should reflect parts of your personality you want remembered. Cater your favorite foods, host performers, decorate it in your favorite flowers. Whether you decide on an extravagant affair or something simpler, remember that a living funeral is meant to be a shared time between you and your loved ones─ your celebration can be anything you want it to be.
Traditional funeral services typically include a number of eulogies, brief speeches in memory of a loved one. At a living funeral, it’s up to you whether or not you want to have speakers or not. For some individuals, they would rather speak one-on-one with their loved ones, rather than having a speech addressed to them.
If you or a loved one are making final arrangements, Tulip Cremation offers a number of different direct cremation plans for if you are planning for the future, within six months or less, or immediately. We offer high-quality service for a low-price, and we are dedicated to making your experience at this important point of your life as easy and simple as possible. If you are interested in learning more or arranging something today, contact our 24/7 Family Care Team at (844) 942-4909 or arrange online.
Photo by Kerri Shaver on Unsplash