Traditionally, funerals were considered events where family and friends would come together to mourn and lament the loss of a loved one. They were somber occasions in which everyone was present to pay tribute to a loved one with an air of melancholy. They were far from a celebration or festivity.
In a traditional funeral ceremony, attendees typically don’t have the chance to say their final thoughts and feelings toward the deceased, nor does the deceased get the chance to hear and appreciate all of the poignant sentiments their loved ones have to say about them. As people have begun to realize how many exhaustive elements go into planning a funeral service and how it ends up being more for the living rather than the deceased, we are seeing new perspectives around what a funeral service should be or needs to be. As more and more people begin to embrace the concept of death as an inevitable part of life and the beginning of a new chapter, we are seeing a rise in the number of living funerals being hosted and celebrated.
Thankfully, there are many reasons to have a living funeral and ditch the conventional customs and traditions, if desired, and get to have one big final celebration with those we love before it is time to say goodbye. Hosting a living funeral empowers the honoree to celebrate their final chapter on their own terms. Here are 5 reasons to consider having a living funeral service to honor a loved one before their passing and celebrate their life and legacy however they wish.
One of the biggest reasons we continue to see the funeral industry moving away from traditional and embracing new and fresher approaches is due to the lack of creativity and individuality that comes from conventional funeral ceremonies. With the deceased still alive and strong enough to host their own funeral celebration, they can opt for any format or theme they desire for their final goodbye. They get to choose all of the logistics and embellishments of their funeral party, whether they want to have a Hawaiian-themed celebration, a custom party, or simply a ceremony where everyone comes together to sign and reminisce about special anecdotes and memorable events.
At its core, a living funeral allows the deceased to be as creative and innovative as they desire in a service to celebrate the final chapter of their earthly life.
Hosting a living funeral means the deceased has full control on who attends the event, getting the opportunity to avoid leaving anyone out or behind. And on the other hand, the deceased can also choose whether he or she wants it to be a more intimate ceremony with only those closest and dearest to them.
One of the biggest reasons many find the idea of having a living funeral appealing is the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones at a place and location that is of significance or of joy to them. For instance, when hosting a living funeral, the deceased can choose to have the celebration take place at the beach, the location he or she got married, their favorite country or city, or even their backyard if he or she finds their home to be the most comforting and adequate place for them.
Often it takes the fragile and transient quality of life for it to become apparent to us just how much our loved ones mean to us. Unfortunately, in a traditional funeral ceremony, it is already too late to embrace long-lost loved ones, ask for forgiveness or repair old relationships.
A living funeral creates a rather special and unique opportunity for broken bonds to be mended, putting the past behind you. This way everyone attending has the chance to fully express their love and compassion – both the guests in attendance and the honoree get to share their sentiments with one another. In a living funeral ceremony, you can authentically look the honoree in their eye and express to them in person your feelings towards them and the incredible life they have lived while you are at the altar giving a speech in tribute.
Many times, the deceased wants their memory and final remembrance to be just like they imagined and not in the hands of someone else. Planning one’s funeral allows for a unique level of personalization, getting to decide the ambience of the event and whether it is of celebration and laughter, or more of a sorrowful one. You get to choose the food that is served, whether there will be drinking or not, and if your guests find themselves dancing along to your favorite songs or telling of their favorite memories they might have of you.
As part of a living funeral, the deceased gets to celebrate life and remind those they love of the reality of death as an inescapable transition. Living funerals shift the somber nature of traditional funerals toward a time of celebration and reflection, making room for the idea that a grave is not the final destination of those we love.
If you or a loved one are getting ready to make the arrangements necessary to celebrate or commemorate the life and new chapters while alive, know that hosting a living funeral, although a new concept, can be very rewarding and gratifying for the deceased and those attending.
As you get ready to learn more about funeral preparations and rudiments, we encourage you to browse our plethora of resources available meant to help you through each step of the way. Ultimately, don’t forget to embrace those near to you and commemorate the time spent together.