A five-year old girls dies and the funeral tea party is all about fun, toys, and cupcakes. Nope, not make-believe and not disrespectful.

On the contrary, it was the highest of tributes to a girl whose infectious joy and good-naturedness was irrepressible, even at her passing.

Or especially at her passing, because why would you not celebrate someone in the manner in which they lived?

Little Julianna Snow had an incurable disease and a contagious love of life. She loved tea parties and dolls and glitter. Everyday she dressed up in her princess outfit, complete with tiara. She loved her painted fingernails, and loved her toys so much she wrote “J’s Rules of Hospitality for Toys (and People)” that she strictly enforced.

Make sure they feel welcome in your room. 
Give them a name. 
It’s okay if the name is the same as yours.
Introduce them to your other toys.
When you are watching something on TV, turn them around so they can see, too.
cupcakes–at-funeralHer remarkable parents knew that her celebration of life had to reflect their daughter’s personality to the max. There were pink balloons at the door, a cupcake decorating station and a fingernail painting station. All of her toys were on display and kids were invited to take home whichever ones they wanted.
Instead of a traditional funeral, it was a bona fide tea party, the kind Julianna (and so many little girls) love so much.
You can read the CNN article about it here.
I’m not sure what I can add to this because it’s so brilliantly self-evident how awesome this is.
I understand that not everyone wants to express themselves this way, or don’t feel they have the emotional stamina to pull it off, and that’s all right. Losing someone is painful and horrible, and we all have the right to grieve in our own way.
But if you’re on the spectrum of openness to new ways of saying goodbye, I encourage you to take this example to heart. This doesn’t have to be reserved for the brave, the young, the special.
THIS, my friends, is the new face of saying goodbye. Designing ceremonies, events, parties, gatherings—whatever it is that best expresses the person’s spirit and personality.
Generic, formal, heavy, oppressively sad ceremonies aren’t necessarily healing. They may go through the motions of a respectful sendoff, but do they really engage your heart? Do they honestly fill you with absolute gratitude for this person you loved so much? Do they at all make you feel like you’re celebrating their legacy?
There may be comfort in the familiar, but there is a different kind of comfort that’s called involvement. This is a person you’ve loved so deeply, will never be forgotten and is part of your life forever – FOLKS, it’s time to pull out all the stops and PUT THEIR LIFE into it!!
Forget what is normal, what is expected, and what is perceived as the safe kind of goodbye. Go for true meaning, appreciation, and a reverence for that person that calls you to have their spirit be front and center. Their personality, their joy, their fabulous uniqueness. It can involve a funeral home or it can be held anywhere and in any fashion.
We’re all merely taking turns saying goodbye to each other, everyone will have their final leave-taking. Don’t make the goodbye look feel like a defeat, a wrong, an injustice. Put your whole heart into celebrating the life of your loved one. It’s a tribute to them and if done well, is a bit of a balm for your hurting heart.