One of the biggest events in life is a funeral. It is a solemn and sad affair, where friends and family meet to celebrate a life and remember and honour the recently deceased person. All the important people will be there except the guest of honour. The most important person won’t be able to make it - death does that to you.
Rather than wait for the funeral, why not celebrate life and be part of the celebration? I am sure there may be a hundred good reasons why not to - but they don’t pass the test. The reason to celebrate your life is because you are worth it.
Even if the “big event” is a coffee with one other person, we encourage you to celebrate your life: to give thanks for the good, to perhaps ask forgiveness for the not so good and to accept that you do matter. Your life does matter, and it is worth taking the time to acknowledge this.
Consider The Benefits Of A Big Event
It is a celebration of life and for the day it puts death and illness on notice
Sometimes in illness and with a terminal illness in particular, there are fewer and fewer really good days. There may be times when all that life seems about is “waiting to die”. Illness may take away pleasure or even the expectation of pleasure, so to have a good day requires some planning. Even with planning it may not be the best day, but it also won’t be the worst day.
Why not plan for an Illness “free “day where life is celebrated and illness and all its limitations are put on hold? Why not plan for the best day on your terms and celebrate all the good things in life in defiance of all the bad thigs illness brings?
It is a celebration of your life
You matter and your life, with all its ups and downs, counts. Regardless of your achievements or perhaps failures, there is an opportunity to have a day where you can celebrate life, celebrate being alive and part of the world of the living. Dead people do not get to celebrate so why not make use of an opportunity to celebrate everything or anything good.
It is an opportunity to catch up with all those people who matter to you
When life is ending, one of the most difficult things to do is to say the goodbyes. Not everyone may deserve the honour to be invited, but if you have a group of friends or family members who mean a lot to you and who deserve the honour, why not invite them to celebrate your life or life in general.
It does save on time and the road-trip to get around to see everyone in turn. By inviting them to the Big- event, the tone can be set for celebration and not doom and gloom. The event may be the perfect time to say farewell in a positive and happy way. Leave them with a lasting impression of how well life can be lived.
It will leave lasting memories.
Funerals are sad occasions and people often don’t remember much about the chaos brought about by a funeral. Often funerals are inconveniences in people’s life. By having a celebration of life, people may remember it for all the right reasons. If there are speeches and ‘roasts” and everyone is having a fun. It may inspire and change attitudes to death and dying and show others how to get on with living. We like that.
It is great to have something to look forward to.
In the same way that every great meal requires a little dessert or cheese and wine to round it off , so to we all need a little something extra occasionally to make life sweeter. Having something exciting and enjoyable on the horizon is good for us. A Big event may be just what the doctor ordered especially if someone else organises or plans it for you.
Have a can-do attitude
Illness will demand that you say NO!
There will be every excuse not to have a big event. It is too costly, too difficult, not enough time, and so it can go on and on. With a can’t-do attitude a big event will become a no event.
But we encourage you to be bold, to stare death in the eye if you must and celebrate life. Make the event a big or as small as you like, but plan for it. The first step it to select a date- even if it changes, but the sooner you start the better.
Pick a date
This may be an important date such as a wedding anniversary, a birthday or other significant day but it needn’t be. Pick a day that is convenient- that will suit most guests and that is suitable in term so medical appointments etc.
Once this has happened, the party can almost begin.
Pick a venue
This is a world of possibility. The easiest is somewhere local, near home and not far from the beaten track, but it doesn’t have to be. Possibilities include, near children (let them do the heavy lifting) , or on a cruise , a train , a restaurant , a picnic. The only ingredients required are imagination, convenience and cost considerations.
Paying the bill
Money matters even if you cannot take it with you. Plan a budget and if the budget and costs blow out , why not ask the guests to contribute – They mostly will. Another option if you want to be extravagant (cruise, bucket list experience) it do a “go fund” campaign. People do care, you will be surprised how willing people are to support a good cause. Let us know if we can assist with this in any way.
Pick those you want to invite
It is essential that you control the list of invitees. Don’t invite enemies, those you don’t like or those who do not matter. It is your day and it should be a fun day. Make sure those who you invite are the ones you love and care about, want to honour or want to be around with. Apart from that there are no rules.
Make the day count. Here are our suggestions for a successful day.
- Dress nice, get your hair cut and look your best. When you look good, you feel good.
- Make sure you have enough medication on board – don’t slip up in taking pain drugs or other essential medication
- Keep it short- Don’t turn a party into a marathon. Have fun and then be done.
- Have a plan B- if you feel unwell, don’t suffer. Excuse yourself but leave the guests to party on.
- Say something- people hate doing speeches, but it is an opportunity to say what is on your heart to those you love. They will thank you for the speech.
- Plan for an emotionally heavy day- saying good byes is difficult so make it into something easy- Pop a balloon or some champagne or have some device to decrease the tension if emotions are running high. Dancing on the table is not a good option, but defusing emotions is handy- recall a fun story in your life and tell it- keep the mood positive- celebrate life, not death
- Get a team mate or support person to carry the load, don’t do it all yourself.
- Remember to get a professional photographer to capture the event- Invaluable.
The Day After
Rest, you will be exhausted but hopefully equally delighted by the success of the big event. Why not send a small gift to family and friends- Get the photographer to make suggestions about how to maximise the use of photos, Everyone likes a shot of themselves. Perhaps have a photo album of the day.
We would love to be part of your Big-event , so please share the story and photos on the website. If this was as successful as we know it will be why not encourage someone else to have a big event as well.