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‘My choice to have a
isn't about my ego and
hearing how wonderful
It is an opportunity for
me to show my
appreciation to all
those who have been
dear to me while I am
still alive to say it.’
• Pat, Living Funeral recipient,2014.
A Living Funeral is usually chosen by someone who knows that he or she does not have much time left to live.
Whether the reason is that the person is terminally ill or is at an old age, the person knows death is near and could use this type of goodbye as closure.
It is used to celebrate the happy times, and forgive the body for “failing”. It also allows loved ones special time together at a crucial time, when time is not guaranteed.
It makes perfect sense. How often have you attended a funeral and heard someone say 'If only he or she had been here today...and heard all the beautiful things everyone had to say about them....They would have been so humbled'...
A Living Funeral gives everyone involved the opportunity to participate in the event. And of course, it doesn't preclude further celebrations (maybe a traditional burial or cremation, or one of many alternative celebrations) by loved ones after the person has died. The word 'Funeral' in Living Funeral tends to put people off because they feel like they’re ‘acknowledging impending death’, but its really quite the contrary.
Gathering to celebrate one’s life before he or she dies is a privilege. It is a special time is carved out for loved ones to express love, gratitude and those things we should’ve, would’ve, or could’ve, said if we found the right time.
Now, with the increasing need of Hospices, we’re seeing a popularity and real acceptance of this communal, familial ritual because more people are taking their end of life journeys in the comforts of home, family and community rather than estranged in a sterile institution. Palliative Care is such a wonderful gift to our community. It affords and encourages the Terminally Ill dignity and respect. Hospices allow and encourage family to spend time together as family, rather than as carers.
How wonderful to die knowing how truly loved, cherished adored and appreciated you really are.
A Living Funeral means there are no words left unsaid.....and often makes the passing for the dying person and their family an easier process. That's not to say there still wont be tears and sadness, its just that you will know exactly how much they loved, and how much they were loved in return.
Whats the difference between a Living Funeral and a regular Funeral?...
Most living funerals have the same aspects of a normal funeral; besides of course the deceased person. The person facing death has not yet passed. So, there is no Coffin, memorial cards...and other things you would expect to see at a funeral. i.e.; sombre music, a casket, readings, poems etc., a Living Funeral tone is usually very different.
Music is often chosen with an all-around happier atmosphere. The goal is for this to be happy, to celebrate a life and to give thanks to everyone attending. During a Living Funeral, families and friends will share stories and memories of the person who is nearing death. Testimonials if you will.
This ceremony is often a very happy event where there can be closure. The soon to be deceased person often speaks about his or her life and who has had an impact on it. Many people want to be able to show their appreciation through the living funeral. Friends and family of the person hosting the funeral will say things that they would have said at a normal funeral. Except now their loved one is there to hear it.
It is not uncommon for champagne, cupcakes, good food and good friends to be free-flowing at these occasions, and the tears at this Funeral, are a combination of tears of happiness and sadness.
As the saying goes…”Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, which is why it is called the present’.
Celebrate your life, in the time you have afforded to you. Make it count.
The Living Funeral can take place at a favourite venue, or could be held at home. Ultimately, the location of the event are less important than the quality of the time shared with those who attend. And of course, with the dying person involved in the planning, it's a perfect event to include their favourite food, drink, music, songs, poetry, pets and other things that have been important in their life.
Is it more expensive than a regular Funeral?...
Money is just one of the reasons why people sometimes choose a Living Funeral. Finances can also be a cause of much stress to many families whom have already spent copious amounts of money on treatment whilst living with a Terminal Illness. Regular funeral prices can be high, depending on whether cremation or burial is selected. Having a Living Funeral can save some money, but doesn't mean you cannot have a more formal funeral after death if that is what you would like.
Some feel that the Living Funeral is just as if not more than meaningful. It certainly is a beautiful opportunity to say goodbye, under what can be very difficult circumstances.
I charge no more for my Living Funerals than I do my normal services (weekend rates do apply).
A true gift, given from the heart with lots of love. I would be privileged to help you all say goodbye.