In a classic episode of Gilligan’s Island, Mr. Howell hides behind bushes watching his funeral. Because he was still alive during the ceremony, his character was ahead of his time. A current trend in the funeral industry is to host your own memorial service, while you’re there to enjoy it! Called a living funeral, the idea for this type of event resulted from the frustration that people say the nicest things about a person when he or she is not around to appreciate the sentiment.
Typically celebrated when someone faces a terminal illness, live funerals make the most of the honoree being alert enough to appreciate the event. They give the honoree the chance to help plan and enjoy the event entirely on their own terms. Living Funerals are starting to generate attention because of recent changes to Euthanasia legislation in California.
History of the Living Funeral
The 1997 novel Tuesdays with Morrie introduced the idea of Living Funerals to mainstream America. The main character suffers from Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), opting to host his own memorial service. Since practiced thousands of times across the country, the practice vividly demonstrates the ways that Americans have started reinventing end-of-life rituals.
A Living Funeral Described
Like a cross between a wedding ceremony and a funeral, a living funeral can be as unique as the people whose lives they celebrate. The honoree can choose between something formal or informal held in a home, community center, church, hotel banquet hall, restaurant, mortuary, theater, senior center, or the park…to name a few options. The celebrants and attendees can wear whatever they want – be it a hospital gown or black tie.
In an article about the events in the Orange County Register (OCR), Denise Carson says, “The gatherings become a stage for people to share memories, songs, poems and lifetime achievement awards that express thank you, I love you, I’ll always remember you. And goodbye.”
Carson also writes, “I believe these celebrations help families prepare for the inevitable, bond together while focusing on life when you often feel helpless in the shadow of death.”
If you’re not quite ready to host your own living funeral, another way you can actively participate in the planning of your memorial service is to take advantage of Pre-Planning, a service we proudly offer. Pre-planning should be a natural part of life, because it provides you time to make end-of-life decisions in a calm and rational atmosphere.
Pre-planning incorporates your wishes when the time comes. Making the commitment to plan is easy. You won’t need to complete a health questionnaire or take a physical exam. So, absolutely everyone and anyone can plan. You won’t even have to wait for documents to be returned. The plan is completed, and put on file in our office.
Benefits to Pre-Planning:
- Makes sure your family understands your wishes.
- Relieves family members of making personal decisions on your behalf at the time of need.
- Can protect your family from the ravages of inflation. Your expenses will be covered when you need them to be, through a pre-payment plan. So, you will pay today’s prices for tomorrow’s services. But you aren’t obligated to pre-pay for pre-arranged funeral plans. Instead, you can set a plan to paper by recording your wishes, and leave them for your family, who will pay for your desired services at the time of your passing.
- Gives you peace of mind.
Owner/Operator Manny Godoy of Foothill Funeral & Cremation embraces the idea of a living funeral, “If I am ever faced with the need to choose end-of-life decisions such as euthanasia, I have an interest of doing this type of ceremony before I pass. I think it would be fascinating to be able to be present at my Life Celebration and be able to say my good byes, and leave on my own terms.”
About Foothill Funeral & Cremation
Drop by our Glendora showroom any time. In Covina, our relationship with Sacred Heart Chapel is the perfect place for mourners to host funerals and memorial services in a grandiose yet intimate setting. We proudly serve the San Gabriel Valley, San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles Basin, Orange County and the Inland Empire. Working in the mortuary industry since 1996, we have worked hard to build a reputation of quality, sincerity and trust. Please allow us to help you at your time of need or in the future. Call today (626) 335-0615 or drop by our showroom.