Celebrations of Life

It seems there are two types of death – sudden or slow.  We Memorial Society members should have filled out our paperwork, discussed our wishes with our loved ones and planned our memorial service.  Those plans acknowledge that we each know that we may die suddenly.

What about the slow death – the diagnosis of a terminal disease, the answer to the question, “How long do I have?”, the subsequent confusion, depression and pain?

How about a Living Celebration of Life? A woman I knew in Kansas City was diagnosed with terminal cancer when she was (relatively) young. She decided she wanted to attend her own wake.  When I first heard about it, I was skeptical.  But then, why not?  Since then, I’ve heard of others who decided to do the same thing.

Put on the Celebration of Life that YOU want!! By sampling the caterer’s menu, you can insure the selection, quality and taste you want. You can pick out the wine, beer or other beverages. You can hire the musician(s) and pick out the music. You can choose the format – led by a celebrant or minister, ask certain people to speak, allow some time to let volunteers share stories, toasts or roasts with the group, have an open gathering with no speeches, or a combination of any of these formats.

And you get to control the invitation list! No attendance by that hated relative or neighbor. You’ll get to enjoy the company of friends and family while you still can, and they can see you while you are still relatively healthy. Finally, YOU can say your goodbye in just the way YOU want to. You can tell your own stories and let people know how you’d like to be remembered and/or honored in the future. You may even want to encourage the attendees to plan for their own demise – the sudden kind or the slow kind. If you’re not comfortable speaking, you can ask a good public speaker to convey your words.

Think about it.

Linda Betzer

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