A celebration of life can be a way to honour a loved one in a peaceful way that most reflects their legacy. Here's how to celebrate a life well lived.
Funerals don’t always have to be sombre affairs. While it’s necessary to mourn and grieve the loss of a loved one, don’t be afraid to smile at the same time.
When someone you love passes away, it’s absolutely necessary to go through the grieving process. Let yourself feel all of the emotions, cry tears of heartache, scream at the world if you wish. But what many people struggle with is finding happiness after a loss. There’s a feeling of guilt that you’re not ‘supposed’ to smile. Laughter becomes taboo because that’s not really how you’re meant to act when you’re mourning.
The trouble with this though is that while you’re mourning the loss of a loved one, you’re also remembering the beautiful moments you shared, and it’s ok to smile and laugh. In fact, it’s healthy. Happiness, after all, is an emotion. And if you’re going to let yourself feel all of the emotions, you can’t leave happiness off the table.
What is a celebration of life?
A celebration of life service is just as described—you’re celebrating the life of someone who has passed—their achievements (big and small), their relationships, their ups and their downs.
Usually, these services are more upbeat than a funeral, have a happier tone and are less religious in nature. What many people love about them is that they are less constrained than a traditional funeral service so you can really let your imagination run wild and create a service that is most fitting for your loved one.
Funeral or celebration of life: why not have both?
Of course, just because you’re having a funeral doesn’t mean you can’t have a celebration of life and vice versa. It may be fitting for some families to have both, as in many religions there are certain cultural observances that are required upon passing. Having a celebration of life service means you get the best of both worlds—the traditional funeral service and then the celebration to say farewell in your own way.
Having the conversation with your loved one prior to passing can also help with the planning process. They can explain exactly what they want and how they want to be farewelled. This ensures that they are getting the send-off they really want and also that their wishes are honoured.
Going through the planning process ensures you can plan financially to cover whatever service your loved one wants. While of course there are ways to plan financially, such as ensuring you always have savings to cover emergencies or unexpected events, another way to plan financially may be taking out relevant insurance products, such as Funeral Insurance.
It may help cover the costs of a funeral, a celebration of life, or even travel expenses to make sure everyone who needs to be in attendance is there.
Another alternative to a traditional funeral is a living memorial. Who says you can’t have a celebration of life service before your loved one passes away? A living memorial gives you all a chance to say exactly what you need to say and share what you love most about each other.
How to plan a celebration of life service
When planning a celebration of life service consider what your loved one would have wanted. What made them happiest in life? Use that to inspire everything from the music to the decorations and even whether anyone needs to say a speech and if so, who to choose and what they should say.
Other ideas include:
- Ask people to bring along a funny memory they can share with everyone.
- Plan the menu around your loved one’s favourite dishes or treats.
- Create a theme for the celebration that reminds you of your loved one.
- Choose a ‘take-home’ gift for people who come—this could be a card with your loved one’s favourite poem or quote on it or a seed to plant in their garden in your loved one’s memory, for example.
Celebrations of life are meant to be happy occasions that allow you to find your smile, even in your darkest days. Your loved one may be gone, but their memory lives on and it’s nice to celebrate a life well lived.
The death of a loved one may make us reflect on our own situation. It’s important to have discussions around your funeral or celebration of life service well before anything unexpected happens.
While it can be an awkward and uncomfortable conversation—no one wants to think about their own or a loved one’s passing—talking about death and the way to farewell each other means we can always ensure we are honouring each other’s wishes. It also means that financial plans can be put in place.
It can be hard to prepare each other emotionally, but it doesn’t need to be hard to prepare each other financially. Part of this may be taking out Funeral Insurance.
Cover under the Funeral Insurance Benefit is for Accidental Death only for the first 12 months of cover, including for any increases. Accidental Death has a special meaning in the PDS and some causes of death are excluded during this time—please refer to the PDS or call us for further details. After the first 12 months, the Funeral Insurance Benefit provides cover for all causes of death.