Why would anyone want to choose to hold their funeral while they’re alive?  Well believe it or not it’s becoming more and more popular!

.A living funeral is where someone attends their own funeral before they die so that they may say goodbye to loved ones and celebrate their life and the end of it

Today a living funeral is most commonly held by those who are expecting to pass away soon, such as those with a serious illness and the person will write their own eulogy and participate in a funeral-like ceremony during which they can silently meditate and reflect upon their life and the end of it.

funeral cortege

Holding a ‘living” funeral can help to get a fresh perspective on life, face up to the inevitability of death and, in the case of those suffering from a terminal illness, give people a chance to say goodbye to loved ones.

In a culture like Britain’s, which is traditionally quite emotionally reserved, living funerals can free people up to let their emotions out without feeling embarrassed or awkward.  It wasn’t all that long ago, that all mourners had to wear black and widows were expected to stay in black clothes for at least a couple of years.  Queen Victoria famousely mourned the loss of Prince Albert by wearing black from the moment he died until her passing some 40 years later!

So, does the advent of living funerals suggest we’re getting more comfortable with the idea of our own mortality? Not necessarily so.  It might be down to a mixture of a freer culture and a more open conversation around end-of-life issues, but living funerals are more common than you might think.

Whether or not the thought of attending your own funeral appeals, perhaps some people will be comforted simply by having the option. There’s an expectation that a funeral needs to be quiet, religious and solemn.  But if you’ve organised your own funeral you could ditch the religious side of things in favour of a brighter and more party atmosphere.

While living funeral therapy may seem extreme – and it may not be for everyone – it might be one way for us to start considering our options and make plans that will help our loved ones after we are gone. Even something as simple as a funeral plan can be an important step.

I’m not sure it’s something I’d like to do as I really don’t want to hear the eulogies of what people might say about me when I’m gone!

Enfield Wills

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