Although it’s not something most people like to think about, many of us have loved ones entering the twilight years of their lives. You’re probably thinking of having a traditional funeral, but what if you could honor your loved one while they’re alive?
Thankfully, there is a way you can celebrate your loved one’s life with them: host a living funeral. It may sound a bit unorthodox, but you’d be surprised how reassuring such an event is. There are three reasons why your loved one should consider having a living funeral:
1. It Doesn’t Have to Be Formal
If your loved one wants a living funeral, you don’t have to make it a suit-and-tie affair. He or she had a very fulfilling life, and perhaps doesn’t like the thought of his or her loved ones crying over a casket. Many don’t want to leave their relatives and friends without expressing their appreciation for the presence they had in their lives.
Funeral Trend noted a living funeral doesn’t require a lot of formal, expensive preparation either. Simply invite your loved one’s closest friends and relatives to your home, where you can share stories, plan a big meal and, ultimately, tell your loved one just how much you appreciate him or her.
2. Unconventional Funerals Are Becoming More Common
There’s a chance your loved one isn’t all that religious, so involving a synagogue, church, or mosque isn’t necessarily a big priority. In fact, he may want to remove the religious element completely.
This isn’t uncommon – cremation services and other such funerals are growing popular among agnostic Americans. The National Funeral Directors Association noted many Americans no longer identify with any religion, which is causing many to gravitate away from traditional services. In 2012, 49.5 percent said they felt religiosity was an important part of a loved one’s funeral, while 42 percent agreed in 2015.
Bottom line: Don’t let the unconventionality of a living funeral deter you from celebrating your loved one today. A living funeral gives your loved one a chance to connect with everyone before they pass away.
3. You Can Add a Creative Element
Next Avenue’s Deborah Quilter spoke with playwright Lisa D’Amour, who recently wrote a play about a former doyenne who wants to hold a living funeral for herself. The playwright told Quilter friends and relatives of a loved one could hold a concert of sorts, playing music that reflects the loved one’s lifestyle. Another option is to have those who would deliver eulogies simply address the person around which the service revolves.
“I would like folks to speak, and joke and tell stories about me,” said D’Amour.
It’s possible a living funeral may not be for your loved one. Nevertheless, it’s still something to consider, especially if your loved one is the type of person who craves interactions and unique experiences.