Back to suggestions for how to make your goodbye party your own. Since the goal here is to make your sendoff unique, it doesn’t follow that a blanket list of ideas is helpful—because what’s perfect for you wouldn’t even exist for another person. Or at least not in the same quirky way. And that quirky aspect is what we’re after.

Remember: the whole point is to avoid the generic, to minimize whatever could be used for any old corpse. You’re not just the next body whose time has come; you’re the one-of-a-kind, nobody-could-replace-you bundle of eccentricities and very beloved (or not so much, but that’s okay, too) personality traits.

In thinking about some of my own wishes, specifically about what food to serve (being a major foodie), one detail I’ve written down is that no matter how casual the affair or rustic the location (because a picnic in the woods would be the ultimate place to have my going away party), I’m prohibiting plastic cutlery. Of course I won’t be there to enforce that, but I’d like to believe I get the veto power even from the grave for such a minor request.

No Plastic CutleryI say this because I hate plastic cutlery, and for this last, ultimate occasion with my name on it, I want the best (relatively speaking) for everyone. I know—it’s a trivial, perhaps even stupid wish (and trust me, there are more substantial and meaningful plans in the works)—but it pleases me knowing that no one will be suffering through crappy, cheap cutlery at my last party.

I don’t think anyone cares about my food service needs, but it’s an example of a way to personalize your goodbye in an exceedingly easy and also fun way. Just pick a favorite extravagance or indulgence and request it in your service or memorial. OR— got a pet peeve? Make sure it’s not forgotten. Random, made-up examples might be:

• A BBQ with KOBE BEEF hamburgers, no Bubba Burgers for you
• Genuine Champagne from France —not just bubbly from anywhere
• Live musicians, not recorded music
• Dogs’ attendance requested, and they all get a high-quality bone
• No jackets for men, comfort trumps all
• Suits, please! —don’t pay your last respects to me looking like you’re going to play golf
• “Value wines” only (actual true example from a “value wine” aficionado – who knew?)
• Free cigarettes to all smokers, and their very own, very nice designated smoking area, from a defiant, refused-to-quit smoker

These may seem petty, but the reality is that when it’s your now-dead loved one, whatever and as much of them that’s expressed in their goodbye helps. Whether it’s heartfelt and touching or just plain makes you laugh… if their spirit is in it, that’s what counts.

Generic funeral = what’s the point?
Person’s personality shining through everywhere you look = Wow! How blessed and grateful I feel to have known and loved this person.