How to Plan a Celebration of Life if No Instructions were Given

By: Ian Elliott
Thursday, January 28, 2016

For many years, a traditional funeral marked the end of a life.  Direct and to the point with no room to personalize the service.   However, more and more people are finding that they need more.  Yes, their loved one is no longer with them, but grieving is a complicated process. For many, a traditional style funeral is not enough, and they find value in a Celebration of Life. It’s better to remember the joy, rather than the grief.  Those with a church connection find solace in the rituals that have been practised for hundreds of years and this brings comfort to them in saying goodbye to their loved one.

What would the deceased do?

If no instructions were left in the will or given before death, the first, and most important step, is to consider what the deceased would have wanted.  This could be anything from a movie night with their favourite films, to a lavish meal at their favourite restaurant.  Take their wishes and preferences into account, in addition to your own.   While it may not be possible to run with their ideal celebration, it should be possible to find a middle point.   Even, something as simple as sharing photo albums can provide comfort for friends and family members.

Participation

John Donne once observed that no man is an island.   Throughout our lives, we cross paths with others, forge friendships, and touch on other’s lives in ways we may not realize.  While you would obviously invite family members, you might also consider inviting friends and neighbours of the deceased. Many times they offer a different and important perspective you wouldn’t find elsewhere, and may well be grieving as well.   They would welcome the chance to remember the good times, rather than dwell on their grief.  The amount of people you invite will be dependent on the kind of celebration you will be holding.  A private, at home affair will obviously have a smaller guest list compared to an outing to a favourite event or restaurant.

Dealing with stress

Planning any kind of event can be stressful.  Without clear instructions, and dealing with the bevy of emotions that come with a death, it can be overwhelming.  When it gets to be too much, take a deep breath and delegate responsibilities to others that you can trust.  Remember, it’s about celebrating the life of your loved one, bringing friends and family together to share precious memories with each other.

What really matters are the memories and emotions you and yours share about the deceased. No matter what else happens, they will be fondly remembered and respected by their friends and  family.   It’s an occasion for sharing your grief and for sharing joy.

 

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the letters you see in the image.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

Our Favorite Ideas for Creating a Unique Service

More often than not, funeral services are very deeply rooted in tradition - religious or cultural. Paying your respects to the dearly departed can be beautiful as well as meaningful. However, it is...

Peace Arch Hospice Society is proud to host a Hospice Hoedown!

Peace Arch Hospice Society is proud to host a Hospice Hoedown!  DETAILS: Join us on Saturday, August 11th for Peace Arch Hospice Society’s Hospice Hoedown! With food prepared by the BC C...

Helping Yourself Heal From Loss

Healing from a loss of someone you knew or someone you loved is a hard time in your life. Loss affects each person in a different way and not everyone can truly understand the depth of how you feel...

Celebration of Life Vs. Funerals

Conventionally, funeral ceremonies have been very predictable events, with very typical prayers, eulogies, hymns etc. While the objective of the funeral service is to provide some solace to the fam...

What is The Philosophy of Hospice Care?

Sometimes, dying can be slow, inevitable, and often emotionally draining. It takes its toll on the patient as well as their family members, making it the most painful journey for everyone involved....

How to Talk to Your Loved Ones About Your Final Wishes

It’s difficult to discuss your final wishes with a loved one because death is such a sensitive topic. It can cause a lot of pain and grief to people left behind, which is why most hesitate to bring...

Cremation vs. Burial - How to Decide Which is Best?

Both cremations and burials are legal and ancient methods for disposing of a body. People have been cremating their loved ones for thousands of years and burying them for even longer. Deciding whic...

4 Funeral Etiquette Tips You Need to Know

Attending funerals is a way to say goodbye to a deceased friend or acquaintance and offering comfort to grieving individuals. It shows people the decedent was well-loved, which offers some consolat...

How to Write an Obituary Notice

An obituary or a death notice is a formal announcement placed on local publications to inform people of someone’s passing. A death notice is short, practical, doesn’t require many details aside fro...

What Goes Into the Expense of a Standard Funeral?

Funerals are a long process that involves a small group of professionals and a couple of different establishments. You need to hire a funeral director, reserve a place in a burial ground, need spac...