FINDING THE JOY
Happiness and the search for it has been a huge trend in self-development books for the last few years. Gretchen Rubin’s #1 New York Times bestseller, The Happiness Project got people everywhere thinking about how to bring greater happiness in their lives. We’ve also learned that the happier we are that those we are close to get a little happier too. I’d like to encourage you to push that desire to create joy in your life beyond your death and allow for a little humor in your celebration of life or funeral. Some of those ideas are below.
JOYFUL FUNERAL PLAN
Recently I was at a business retreat in Asheville, NC. While networking and learning about other people’s business I go to talking to a woman about how I help people document their end of life plans including their funeral plans. Now, when I start talking about what I do people react in a surprisingly emotional and wide ranging way. While I do hear about a lot of recent deaths, I’m thankful that I frequently get to hear someone excitedly tell me what they want to happen around their death. I was about to get one of those reactions.
She said without pause, “I want wine and dogs at my funeral! Everyone is happier drinking a glass of wine and petting a puppy!”
I loved it. It is a specific wish that really conveyed who she was. It shows her love for animals and a raised glass. The wish is also about the people left behind. Her desire to bring joy at a time she knew they would be hurting is touching and playful all at the same time.
It is only a wish though, until she communicates it to the right people and gets it in writing. Two fairly simple tasks that too often get delayed then forgotten. Which of course for would mean no dogs. And no wine.
What do you want for your funeral? “My Way” by Sinatra playing as folks enter the building?
White lilies everywhere?
Hot chocolate chip cookies served to guests? Playful dancing?
A secular service that reflects your values?
Storytelling by close friends? An outdoor and environmentally friendly service?
Colorful clothing worn by guests? That’s one I want and have in my plan.
You don’t have to stick to what you have seen before. How would you answer the question, “How can I best create the perfect event to reflect my uniqueness and be supportive of those I leave behind?” The best part is it doesn’t really matter what you want, most likely there is a funeral home or event center that can make it happen for you. Heck Lemmy Kilmister, of Motörhead, had feedback from his bass loudly blasting through the chapel at his funeral. If it’s legal you can do it.
Now if you want your body posed elaborately, celebrity entertainers, a decadent venue, thousand dollar checks for everyone, or other pricey options remember somebody has to pay for that. If you want it, save for it and leave a fund to ensure it becomes reality.
Think about it. What do you want? What would really showcase who you are? How can you share your life and love for those still alive? I know you can think of something.
Now write it down, ensure it can be paid for, and tell someone.
Turn your funeral wishes into a funeral plan!
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Kel McBride, MLS, CEOLS, also known as the Lively Death Lady is a death and dying educator. She supports people in making informed decisions about their death that are in sync with their values. From health care to legacy, McBride makes the morbid intriguing and light-hearted, with amusing examples and details of lesser-known options. Her clients get their documents in order, have quality conversations about their wishes with friends and family – and also find a new focus on LIVING. She primarily works with people who are younger & healthy, people who believe their death is in the distant future. For more information or to be added to her EXPIRATIONS INSPIRATIONS blog email email@example.com or visit clearlydepart.com