The trend towards ‘living funerals’ speaks to our growing willingness to speak openly about death.
“Living Funerals” are a way to celebrate someone’s life while they are still around. Recently, I have seen more people moving away from traditional religious ceremonies towards the unconventional. I have conducted ceremonies in woods, on beaches, in gardens and other more unconventional places.
With an increasing trend towards “living funerals”, or” Celebration of Life Events” as I prefer to call them, even death is no longer a prerequisite.
These events are already common in the US and Japan ( seizenso) and it seems that more people in the UK are now holding services in which the soon-to-be deceased person speaks about their life and who has affected it, especially with the cost of funerals rising, many people are now opting for Direct Cremation or The Basic option which does not include a service, many are choosing to pay the costs up front so that their family does not have to worry about finding the money to pay for their parents funeral, others are choosing the simple route due to family rifts, where there is animosity having having to choose options such as music, readings etc might cause even more discord amongst the family.
“Living Funerals” tend to take place towards the end of a person’s life. Some families do this when they know their loved one has a terminal illness but are still well enough to participate in an event to honour them.
I have done several of these over the last few months , in varying locations such as at a hospice, in a pub, in a park and in a garden and most recently I did one of these events for a lovely lady living with Dementia who wanted to have a gathering of all her friends before she began to cease recognising them or remembering their names, it was a lovely afternoon tea style gathering with family and friends, everyone was asked to bring a poem to read and although there were a few tears, it was a really lovely afternoon with lots reminiscing and lots of laughter, all in all, it was a wonderful and uplifting experience and lady in question was really pleased that she had decided to do it and thanked me profusely for facilitating it for her.