As passionate cheerleader for uplifting celebrations of life (aka ‘fun funerals’) for the past eight years, I’m always taking note of people’s reactions. I used to stress — disclaimer-like — that “It’s not for everyone,” but what I’ve observed is that the people who look in horror at me are in the vast minority. I like this fact.
Practically everyone I talk to responds with hearty support: YES! I don’t want a somber funeral, I want people remembering the good times and celebrating me.
So case in point — this story of a young woman in New Jersey, dying of cancer, who insisted her funeral be a party. With two young kids, anyone would understand if she felt mournful and/or bitter. Instead, she wanted her goodby to be “bright and fun,” and for people not to wear sad attire.
This flies in the face of what is considering normal! Yet this is my experience talking about death — and one’s own death, in particular. People do not want morose, depressing affairs. They want to be celebrated. Definitely shed some tears (having a positive outlook doesn’t preclude having some sort of ego, let’s be real) but let them be overshadowed by celebration.
“‘I want a party,’” is exactly what this woman, Melissa Rhodes, said.
If you, or someone you know, says this, honor it!
Our dark, unsatisfying funerals will never evolve into the celebrations we claim to want if we don’t start wherever we are, right now. Break out of the doleful, oppressive tradition, whether one step at a time or voilà — all at once, with a downright upbeat sendoff that leaves people filled with love and appreciation, laughter and a full heart.
Death is sad, loss if awful, mourning and grief are real. Bona fide real — shocking, painful, life-altering, devastating, and sometimes horrifying.
And yet… death is inevitable; the only mystery the where, when, and how. So let’s befriend our shared fate, and commit to rejoicing in our amazing lives. If someone wants a party, by God we should honor that precious request.
I believe with all my heart that this is the future. We will evolve to a point where we accept our mortality, and find a level of gratitude and honoring that eclipses the worst of the pain. Someday, maybe a few centuries from now, humans will not rail so vigorously against death. We’ll have learned to shower our deceased with joyful recognition of the contribution they made.
Life if finite and we all deserve a party when our time has ended.
I’m here and available for working intimately with you to create a sendoff that is unforgettable in every good way.