How to Plan a Celebration of Life If No Instructions Were Given

By: John W. Moles
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

While there is no easy way to deal with the loss of a loved one, some things can make the experience a smoother one, such as advanced planning that lays out exactly how the deceased would like a funeral or celebration of life to be arranged. Of course, that doesn’t always happen, and in the event of a funeral, a professional service, like Moles Farewell Tributes has a lot of experience in helping to guide the bereaved through well established, traditional processes like a burial or cremation. 

But what if you want to do something a little different? What if you feel that it would be more appropriate to have a celebration of life? This is a more unconventional and highly personal event, so if the deceased didn’t leave specific instructions, what should you do?

Memories & Moments

A celebration of life, unlike a normal funeral service, is a way for the bereaved to remember and memorialize a loved one in a positive way. A funeral is a way for those left behind to say goodbye. A celebration of life, as the name implies, is a way to cherish the difference this person’s life made to everyone else. If the deceased didn’t plan any of this in advance, made no remarks about music, locations or specific activities, then you must try to plan for both the deceased and the bereaved. You need to keep in mind the primary objective is to surround attendants with all the good things that are associated with the deceased. There are a few ways to do this.

Memory Tables & Boards

These are tables or display boards on which you can place belongings, photos, or other objects associated with the deceased that people can look at or interact with. Favorite articles of clothing, notable trophies, examples of their hobbies, such as artwork or knitting are all ideal. Anything that people fondly associate with the person that provoke memories is a good choice to include and display.

Writing & Recordings

Nothing brings back the memories of a person like the very words they used. If there are letters they’ve written, messages they’ve left, it can be a powerful trigger to see actual handwriting. If there are video or audio recordings available, these can transport people back to very specific times and moments, and are effective at bringing people together to reminisce, especially if they were involved in the recording.

Memorial Notes

If you want to make the celebration of life more personal and interactive, a great way to do this is to let everyone participate. By providing a notecard at the beginning of the event, you can urge attendants to write down their most cherished memory of the deceased, and at a later point in the celebration, these memories can be shared. This is a perfect way to let everyone share their own personal favorite memory, and may even bring to light more good memories that others weren’t aware of.
There are many ways to conduct a celebration of life. If you live in Bellingham, WA, and want some help or advice on how to organize your own, or the funeral service that may precede it, contact us at Moles Farewell Tributes. We have the experience and compassion to guide you through this challenging time.

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