Here’s a little inspiration for you from the New Zealand Listener. A rhapsody of praise for the self-created, celebratory funeral from one Kevin Ireland. He and his wife decided, in their 70s and after attending one too many morbid funerals, that they wanted nothing but a good time at theirs. The article is on the longish side, so here are the phrases that inspired me, and as always—hoping they spark something in you, too.
“The funeral as we know it… deserves to die.”
“As one gets older, one goes to more and more funerals and fewer and fewer parties… And this seems to me to be an ideal way of combining the two and having a good time instead of continually going to have a morbid time.”
And when Kevin’s wife, Caroline, died…
“Hundreds turned up… We had 14 people prepare the feast – it took them two hours to do that, including three chefs. A nephew brought down a whole load of smoked snapper from up north. Everyone contributed amazing amounts of food; there was food for the multitudes. Some people brought wonderful wines and, of course, the bar was open and we ran a tab.
Speeches were strictly managed, photographs of Caroline were prominently displayed, and [our] dog, a little hairy thing called Syd, was in attendance. By all accounts, everyone had a good time.
I still get letters and I still get people saying to me, ‘It was such a wonderful funeral’, and then correcting themselves saying, ‘What a great celebration!’ I would happily see the word ‘funeral’ pass out of the language into antiquity and the word ‘celebration’ come into use.”
About contemplating his own last wishes…
“It would give me no pleasure to think that I would have a funeral. In fact, the thought horrifies me…But it gives me living pleasure now to think that when I die there’s going to be one hell of a good party. And I think there’s no better way.”
And the pièce de résistance…
“I think people can get a huge amount of pleasure out of planning their own funeral. And if he wants to have all these trimmings, he’s going to get a lot of pleasure out of it before he’s dead, isn’t he? He’s not going to be getting any pleasure out of it afterwards.”
I couldn’t say it any better myself. And I was surprised to see that the article was written in 2008, which was pretty well before the current growing hankering for and openness to a better way.
Which only proves that sound, considered, seemingly revolutionary ideas are timeless.
It’s TIME. It’s time for better, more personal, meaningful, and memorable goodbyes.
Call me and let’s kick around some ideas that have YOU (or someone you love) all over them.
Good time guaranteed.