Have you ever listened to the heartfelt speeches at a funeral and wondered, what if we could say those things while the person is still with us? What if our expressions of love, admiration, and cherished memories could be shared with those who have touched our lives, before they leave us?

As a society, we often reserve our most profound expressions of love and admiration for eulogies, leaving unsaid words of affection and appreciation unshared until after our loved ones have passed. But what if we didn’t wait? What if we could create a space where these feelings could be expressed in the presence of those who are still with us?

As an end-of-life doula, I’ve been privileged to accompany many individuals and their families on the journey towards life’s end. This work has inspired me to explore the practice of living funerals and wakes.

A living funeral, also known as a pre-death funeral, is a gathering held for someone who is nearing the end of life. It offers a unique opportunity for the dying individual to hear firsthand the love, admiration, and appreciation their loved ones hold for them. It provides a space for meaningful connection, heartfelt farewells, and the sharing of cherished memories while the person is still alive and can partake in these expressions of love.

In my journey as an end-of-life doula, I am now preparing to specialize in facilitating living funerals and wakes. My mission is to help families create a loving environment where they can express their emotions, reminisce about shared experiences, and let their loved ones know how truly special they are to them.

Life, after all, is about love. It’s about the connections we make, the memories we share, and the love we give and receive. A living funeral celebrates this love in a most extraordinary way, allowing those nearing the end of life to experience the outpouring of affection usually reserved for their absence.

I invite you to ponder the idea of a living funeral. Consider the profound impact it could have on your life and the lives of your loved ones. As you go about your day, remember to be kind, both to others and to yourself. Cherish every moment, express your love freely, and never miss an opportunity to tell your loved ones just how special they are to you.

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