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

By: David Tindall
Friday, October 30, 2015

Losing a loved one unexpectedly is always a shock. Grief can hit us in many different ways.  If losing a loved one was not already hard enough, making plans to celebrate their life, when no specific instructions were given can be a daunting task.

Wondering what the person would have wanted and trying to come to terms with your own sadness while also thinking about how others are grieving can be overwhelming.

What’s important to remember is that a celebration of life is just that: It’s taking time to remember your loved one and connect and be comforted by friends and family who knew them well.

Step One: Consider Their Hobbies and Interests

A celebration of life is a unique opportunity to celebrate what made your loved one special. This means incorporating their interests and hobbies. Creating a memory table or memory wall is a great way to showcase some of their past achievements or worldly interests.

If your loved one was an avid animal lover, posting photos of them with their animals is a great way to remember them at their happiest. Another example could be if your loved one had a beautiful collection of some kind. Displaying the collection or awards received can honour the deceased and comfort the grievers at the same time.

Step Two: Participation

Having the deceased’ friends and family participate in the celebration will only add to the feeling of community and comfort felt by all. By writing letters to the deceased or each person sharing a favourite story about them, you are fondly remembering your loved one and also seeing how others remember them as well.

Partaking in an activity loved by the deceased is another way to honour them and feel closer. For example, if your loved one had a favourite pub, going to the pub together and sharing a toast is a great send off and a positive way to celebrate life.

Step Three: Something to Take Away

Saying goodbye is never easy. A celebration of life is different in the sense that it should not be a sad occasion. Yes, your loved one has passed on, but the celebration should reinforce the amazing life they led and the impact they had on those around them.

By offering something to your guests, you are giving them a chance to keep a part of your loved one with them forever. Whether it’s a coveted recipe your loved one was known to make or the dried flowers from the service. By passing something along to the grievers you are keeping the memory of your loved one alive.

How Will You Know You are Doing It Right?

When no instructions are given, planning a celebration of life can be stressful. Not knowing what the person would have wanted can drive a person crazy. When planning a celebration of life, it’s important to remember the love and respect you had for your loved one. No matter what happens at their celebration of life, your loved one will be fondly remembered and respected by friends and family. And that’s what really matters.

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