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Resplendent in my yellow satin dress, I watched them head down the aisle and out the front door as I sang537750_387474191341295_903780686_n her chosen song. It was not a traditional recessional song, but one with a toe-tapping beat. The ballad lyrics sentimentally celebrated her faith-filled abiding love yet the beat had me singing with zeal and gusto. Breathing in deeply to quell my welling tears, I headed to the church hall to partake of the waiting feast, and to accept the condolences for my loss.

Condolences offered on the loss of my mother.

Is it an oxymoron to create a great funeral?

As one ages, arrangements for a fitting services for the death of a parent is often the first funeral an adult handles. Mine was made easier because my mother unexpectedly mailed me particulars for her funeral. She wasn’t ill, nor did we have any reason to expect her dying to be soon.

Yet, six months later I held her personally written paper in my hand as I headed to see her pastor. When he asked if I had any songs or readings that she’d prefer, I felt so grateful to my mother that I was able to simply hand him that paper.

The idea behind October 30th’s Create a Great Funeral Day is to think about how you would like to be remembered and to let others you love know how you’d like your life celebrated. For celebrations take a great deal of planning.

Funerals and Weddings

Consider the purposes behind a funeral or memorial service. It is not unlike a wedding. To hold a wedding there are: desired and required guests to invite, a special venue, an observance of a new life status reality, pictures of people who rarely gather in one place, a festive event afterwards, people tell ing life stories, that are often amusing, and specific rituals to observe.

Holding a memorial service contains all those same elements.

It is held with desired and required guests invited, marking an event that will facilitate a sense of closure for those in attendance, provides attendees an occasion to say relate personal life stories, often amusing anecdotes, and specific rituals to be observed. Just as in a wedding, all people involved have intense emotions around the event. Through the ritual, there is both remembrance, celebration and eventual acceptance of this change in life.

Any death is an emotionally exhausting event. It is challenging to have funeral planning crammed into a few short days; or rather, to plan a great memorial in such a short time that will accurately reflect who you are and what you want your legacy to be.

But, it need not be crammed into those few emotionally charged days.

Create a memorial plan that can be easily adjusted throughout the years while you live your life.

While everyone is eagerly involved with wedding planning, creating plans for one’s own funeral is a last gift for your loved ones.

Funeral or memorial planning requires as much attention to detail as wedding planning. It allows people from various segments of your life to meet each other as each begins the grieving process and provides opportunity for those in mourning to support each other.

It gives family and friends an opportunity to reflect upon a person- YOU- and to share fond memories and remember how you affected their lives. It can be a celebration of your life that you can still be a part of by providing your memorial plan. Many families have rituals around funerals. But, too often, these do not give the personal life stories, the music you’d prefer or a table of mementos that display all that you consider important in your life.  

One day there will be a funeral or memorial service for every single writer that is blogging today. Whether your family and friends leave that event with a solemn reflective song or your toe tapping uplifting favourites can truly be up to you.

At the end of my mother’s service, I stood singing her chosen uplifting song.

I was smiling.

Both the song and the  dress were in that moment because both were in my mother’s memorial plan.   

So was the smile. 

So, if you plan to come to my memorial, please bring a sunflower with you, and a yearning for scrumptious desserts.

Both will be there.

They’re in my memorial plan.


Below is an abundant array of links to check out for this unique topic :




National Post series: How We Die Now http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/10/25/will-technology-conquer-death-new-applications-let-people-send-messages-from-beyond-the-grave/

Allen’s Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook

Available at http://CreateYourOwnFuneral.com and her blog address is http://westallen.typepad.com/idealawg/

Gail Rubin is a Certified Celebrant and the author of the award-winning book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die,  (http://AGoodGoodbye.com) and The Family Plot Blog (http://TheFamilyPlot.wordpress.com).

FB even has an app for after you’re gone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sdzCELofGgE