The Shift Towards A More Personal End-Of-Life Celebration
How do you want to be remembered?
I posed this question to family and friends, and their answers surprised me. Nobody I talked to desires a traditional funeral. I think there is a shift taking place in our culture. We are starting to look at death in a non-traditional more celebratory way.
It makes sense. We don’t live the same way, so why should we die the same way. For the most part, funerals look the same. If I’m attending a funeral, I know what to expect. Except for a closed casket or an open casket at the funeral home or a Catholic mass or Protestant service at the church, funerals are pretty systematic in our culture.
Don’t get me wrong, traditional norms are important. They provide a standard and give us stability. After a death, there is a procedure to follow, and that is reassuring. Moreover, we know that there will be people to help us who are experts in the field. And, for those who are practicing their faith, these ceremonies are an important rite of passage.
Desiring A Non-Traditional Funeral
But, what if we don’t want a traditional funeral? After all, we live life as individuals meaning we have different preferences; different personality traits; and different experiences. My preference may not include two days of viewing culminated with a full Mass or service.
I think it’s okay that death is celebrated as an authentic representation of our lives. Some might say that stepping away from the traditional path trivializes death. I disagree. Honoring a person’s individuality validates who they were in life. If the person who passed loved bright colors and made that known, then why not wear bright colors to the funeral? If many of us spend our lives becoming more of ourselves and less of who others expect us to be, then why should funerals be one-size-fits-all?
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How Do You Want To Be Remembered?
The question of how we want to be celebrated is very personal, and I think we should honor those choices. Just because death has always been celebrated in a specific way doesn’t mean it’s the right way – for everyone.