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Posted by on in Funeral and Memorial Planning

give flowers while livingOne of the growing trends in the funeral industry is end of life celebrations or living funerals. These events are often similar to traditional funerals, memorial services or celebration of life ceremonies, except the intended individual is not deceased. He or she typically has a terminal disease or another ailment and senses that his or her life will soon end.

Living funerals allow individuals to do more than just pre-plan a funeral. They allow people to reunite, say good-bye, show gratitude and mend broken relationships. A good example of a living funeral can be found in the 1997 classic, "Tuesdays with Morrie." The title character, dying from ALS, arranges his own living funeral because traditional ceremonies, as he states, are a waste. "All those people saying all those wonderful things, and [his friend] never got to hear any of it." Morrie invited his friends, students and family members to his living funeral so can say good-bye to everyone. He died without any regrets.

Living funerals can be whatever you want. There aren't rules or guidelines to follow. They can be large and public or small and intimate. Family reunions are a popular venue in which to hold an end of life celebration because they bring everyone together in a casual environment.

There are many benefits to this type of celebration. Having a gathering where everything is upbeat is good for a dying person's psyche. It boosts their spirits and helps their psychological well-being. It is also a good way to get someone's affairs in order such as finalizing the will and organizing the estate. Finally, a living funeral can help the dying person move on peacefully.

If you are thinking of holding a living funeral for yourself or a loved one, you can put one together just as you would a traditional service. A funeral home director can guide you or you can simply have your family and friends help with arrangements.

Also See:

Celebration of Life Service

Memorial Service Ideas

Memorial Poems

funeral planning checklistIf you've ever planned a funeral when a loved one died, you know it can cause heartache and hard feelings for the family members who need to handle the final arrangements. If nothing were prearranged or clarified ahead of time, there may be some conflicting details about the burial or service. Everybody will want to do what they "think" is best, which you know is not always true. Preplanning your own funeral ensures that your final wishes are carried out to their fullest.

By preplanning your funeral, you can spend time shopping around for the best prices and burial options on items such as caskets, urns, cemetery plots and insurance. You can also make sure that any special requests and preferences, such as songs and readings at your services, and funeral program and keepsakes are incorporated into your service.  Just think about much less stress your family will have when your time does come. Wouldn't you rather have them celebrate your memory instead worrying about where to hold the service or even how to pay for it?

Not sure where to begin? If you have a funeral home in mind, start there. Then make sure you visit several more to comparison shop. Once you have an idea of what things cost now, set up a funeral plan either by purchasing a funeral insurance policy, putting money aside, or by paying for what you can. Remember to leave a buffer for inflation, as funeral prices generally increase every year. Talk to your family and express your wishes, including the type of service and burial you want.

Finally, once you have all this in place, contact an attorney, and have the details added to your will or estate planning documents.

Here are more resources to help you get started planning your own funeral or memorial service:

Funeral Pre-planning Article

Funeral Planning

Memorial Service Ideas

Funeral Program Samples

 

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