Saturday, November 29, 2008

Planning a Celebration of Life – Not Your Typical Funeral

"Planning a Celebration of Life – Not Your Typical Funeral

I wonder if you have seen the new trend in funeral services. Ok, now you wonder what does funerals have to do with weddings or events. Well funeral is an event, and people actually hire people to help plan this event. And funerals are not even called funerals or memorials anymore. Their called Celebration of Life or Life Celebration.

There’s a lady at my church who told me that she doesn’t want anyone crying at her funeral. No one is allowed to wear black, but white, and put her in a sexy party dress, not in her deaconess or church dress. And lastly she wants joke and party and laugh at her funeral. No tears allowed for she has lived a long happy life! She warns and threatens that to me every time we talk about a person we know that’s passed or death or having a funeral at our church. She wants everyone to celebrate her life, not her death!

She’s not the only one that thinks that way. And it’s become one of the newest trends in the event business. So here’s a few tips to pull off a celebration if you just don’t know how to do one.
First you should have this type of service to celebrate the life that the person lived, by remembering the good times, not the death as I said before. You can have it at the time you would normally do a funeral or sometime after the funeral.

The celebration can be held at your church like you would do a funeral but call it a celebration. You can have it at your home or a hall or a place that you loved one was fond of or is all about such as a beach if it was something they would like to do. And then have a hall or gym to feed everyone at. Make sure that you decorate the place of where they will be eating if it's held at aa venue. Remember it's a celebration! Just as the funeral, the family and/or clergy should lead the service. Close friends of the deceased should be able to participate. It’s their loss too.

Now you wonder what kind of activities should be done at the celebration. Well a video/picture slide show can be done just as you do for a wedding or a party. Funny stories of your loved one can be told. You can have a gospel choir come in and sing a lively song or a group or someone you know can sing thier favorite song, or a song that speaks about them. Ask couple friends and familymembers read a poem of your loved one life. Have memorial songs and lyrics incorporated into the celebration.

Memorial folders or program with the story of their life and their picture to be presented to each guest. Have a memory table with their pictures of their life or their art or anything that shows who they are, and what they meant to you. You can also place a little memorial tree, (one that’s pure branches) that people can write little notes of what they think of deceased tied to a ribbon. And at sometime their read allowed. You can even have memorial favors. Yes! That’s what I said. Memorial favors - something that reflects who they are. A keepsake for everyone to remember this day. For my grandmothers funeral we gave out little angels that was made out of beads. I still have it to this day and hang it on the Christmas Tree every year. I call it grandma’s angel.

Lastly use your cultural customs, family traditions in the celebration. I’m from Jamaica, and a week before the funeral, all the family gets together and stay together. We do things to keep each other laughing by playing games and joking with each other to make the pain less hurtful of our loss. At night we sing silly songs (most of them were cultural) and funny acting of each other and the loved one. In Jamaica they use to sit outside under something. We call this “Night Night”. Friends and church members will cook a lot of food for us everyday including the day of the funeral and take care of our personal needs.
So just remember that Celebration of Life is just a way to reflect on a person’s life. It’s a way to celebrate instead of morning. ‘Cause we have hope that someday soon, we will see them again.

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