Resplendent in my yellow satin dress, I watched them head down the aisle and out the front door as I sang 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 condolences for my loss.
Condolences offered on the loss of my mother.
Today’s Create a Great Funeral Day seems apropos, placed just before Halloween. It is for many the most scary and morbid topic of all- planning one’s funeral.
Is it an oxymoron to create a great funeral?
As one ages, most often the death of a parent is the first funeral one handles all the arrangements for to offer a fitting service. Mine was made easier because my mother unexpectedly mailed me some 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 that 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 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, like all of life’s celebrations, a funeral requires planning.
Funerals and Weddings
Consider the purposes behind a funeral or memorial service.
It is not unlike a wedding.
Holding a wedding consists of desired and required guests to invite, a venue, an observance of a new life status reality, pictures taken of people who rarely gather in one place, an festive event afterwards, certain people who tell life stories, that are often amusing, and specific rituals to observe.
Holding a funeral consists of all these 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, give attendees an occasion to say goodbye telling personal life stories, and often amusing anecdotes, and specific rituals will be observed.
Just as in a wedding, people attending the event have intense emotions.
Death is an emotionally exhausting event.
Through ritual, there is both remembrance, celebration and eventual acceptance of this change in life. But, it is challenging to cram funeral planning into a few short days; or rather, to plan a great funeral 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.
You can create a memorial plan that can be easily adjusted throughout the years as you live your unique life.
While everyone is eagerly involved with wedding planning, creating plans for your funeral is a last gift for your loved ones.
Funeral or memorial planning requires as much attention to detail as wedding planning.
A funeral that you plan will allow people from various segments of your life to meet each other as each begins the grieving process, provide opportunity for those in mourning to support each other. It will offer family and friends an opportunity to reflect upon a person- YOU- and to share fond memories of your influence in 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 do have rituals around funerals. But, too often, these do not give the personal life stories, the music you 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.
Singing her chosen upbeat song while dressed in bright yellow is a good memory of my mother’s funeral. For both are what she requested be there.
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 :
Book: Approaching the End of Life Donna Schaper
My Send Off
Avoid A Facelift funeral
National Post: How We Die Now
Allen’s Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook at http://CreateYourOwnFuneral.com and her blog 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 .
Last, but most assuredly not least, FB even has an app for after you’re gone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sdzCELofGgE