Fabulous Going Away Party? Yes PLEASE!
Updated: Sep 29
There are many ways of 'having' or 'doing' a funeral, and one of the strongest areas of interest from my clients here in Australia is about how to personalise a funeral and also to better understand what choices and rights we have concerning funerals. It comes as a surprise to many people that there is no rush for a funeral after someone dies, anyone in Australia can conduct a funeral, and you can attend your own funeral as there is no rule or law that says a funeral is only possible after death. It is the funerals that we can attend ourselves - Fabulous Going Away Parties are what we call them here at Gentle Death Education and Planning, or vertical funerals and celebrations of life are some of the other names you may encounter - that I will discuss today.
This excerpt from Grayson Perry: Rites of Passage documentary on the BBC shows what a funeral can look like, and for Roch Maher his celebration of life included a small chapel space, a vase for friends and family to add their memories of Roch to, and a chance for Roch to speak to everyone present.
However, this was Roch Maher's set of choices, and the important point to remember is that we can all make choices and create a funeral event that is personal, special and right for us, and to a scale and budget that fits. You can have a high tea at your favourite restaurant, a garden party get-together in your own backyard, a rock and roll dance event at a community hall, or a series of quiet conversations over a drink in your home - whichever suits your physical and emotional needs, as well as your personality.
The lovely part of a funeral we can attend ourselves is that we have the opportunity to tell everyone important to us why we were fortunate to have them in our lives. And, in return, the people closest to us have a chance to say a goodbye in person, which can be immensely comforting and serve to bypass some of the regret many of us feel when someone dies and we have missed our chance to tell them something in person. On a lighter note, you also have full control of the music playlist (most important!), the catering, and ambience - and I think there is much to be said for enjoying our own funerals and taking part in them rather than expecting everyone else to arrange and attend an event for us only after we are dead.
And given that there are no rules about funerals, I invite you to remember that we do not need to only have one ceremony or event when someone dies... Fabulous Going Away Parties can also form a bookend to our end of life, with another gathering or event held after our death, as funerals do serve an important role for the living, helping us to begin the journey of grief and mourning with ritual and personal process. As an End Of Life Doula who is a consumer and client advocate, planning your funeral your way is just one of the many specialist services I offer.
Are you interested in a Fabulous Going Away Party of your own? I am a skilled event coordinator and planner, with a particular gift for tailoring events in creative ways that truly reflect your own tastes, style, personality, and interests. I am available to plan your funeral (both before and/or after your death) with you to ensure your wishes are reflected at every step. I can also act as MC for your event, help you write your speech, and assist you with finding venues, catering, music, and anything else you consider essential to your farewell.
Let's talk so we can plan - email me at email@example.com to arrange a planning appointment.