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Many families today want a service which celebrates the life of their loved one. We introduce them to the concept of a celebration-of-life, and provide support in designing a celebration-of-life that is as unique as the life of their loved one.
We always enjoy working together with families in planning a celebration-of-life for their loved one. While it can be a challenge to put together an event that both pays tribute to and celebrates the life and spirit of, a complex individual; it's also one of the most rewarding things any one of us can do for someone we've loved and lost.
Sarah York, opens her beautifully-crafted book, Remembering Well, with the very personal story about how her family chose to pay tribute to her mother. "My mother died in April 1983. . . she didn't want a funeral. 'Get together and have a party,' she had said when the topic was allowed to come up." However, she was quick to tell readers that the survivors did not honor the request. "We needed the ritual. We needed to say good-bye, but we also needed a ritual that would honor her spirit and would be faithful to her values and beliefs."
When Ms. York acknowledge the position of her family; that they needed not a party but a ritual; she teaches us all something important: the celebration-of-life events we plan with families should be shaped as much by their own emotional and spiritual needs, as their desire to celebrate the life lived.
While celebrations-of-life are not burdened by social expectations—they can be pretty much anything you want them to be—it's important to realize that the event you're planning should meet the emotional needs of the guests. So, think about exactly who will be there, and what they're likely to want or need. Then, bring in those unique lifestyle and personality characteristics of the deceased; perhaps add live music or refreshments, and you've got the beginnings of a remarkable celebration-of-life.
Celebrations-of-life are intended to lift everyone's spirits by focusing on positive memories. And as we wrote in the above introduction, if you'd like to learn more about celebrations-of-life, we invite you to read our 9 Steps to Planning a Celebration of Life. There you'll discover how our experience in arranging and hosting celebrations-of-life will guide you in the process.
Remembering Well: Rituals for Celebrating Life & Mourning Death, Sara York