What is a living funeral?

A living funeral

A living funeral is a funeral arranged by someone who has little time left for them to live. The person performing the living funeral may be terminally ill, or the person can be too old to an extent they are waiting to die soon. Those who hold the living funeral know death is near and would like closure. The living funeral is used to celebrate the person’s happy times. It is also a way to forgive the body for failing. The event leads to closure where family and close friends get to meet and share moments with the person who knows they will not be around for too long.

Introduction to a Living Funeral

A living funeral might sound like a contradiction, but it’s essentially a celebration for someone who’s alive and able to attend the event. This kind of event happens before a person dies, giving them the chance to hear the touching testimonials and reminiscing stories that are usually shared after their death. A living funeral might not be the usual event you’d consider planning, yet it’s growing in popularity and awareness, especially within the death care industry.

In the realm of this unconventional ceremony, individuals like Bradley Stone, a renowned death doula, helps to orchestrate and facilitate these heartfelt gatherings. They go to great lengths to ensure the guest of honor, who most times face a terminal condition, feels celebrated and cherished more in their life rather than merely being mourned after they’re gone. Stone’s planning and curating role in living funerals underscores the importance and beauty of celebrating one’s life while they’re still here to be part of it.

Living funerals may take some getting used to, but once you read more about them and understand the intent, you’ll see that they are really about life, not death. This is not your average 4-min read but is truly life-affirming.

What Exactly is a Living Funeral?

A living funeral, simply put, is an event where people gather to celebrate a person’s life while they are still alive. It’s generally organized as a social gathering for families and friends, giving them an opportunity to share their deepest feelings, express their gratitude, and say their goodbyes. Unlike a real funeral, wherein people mourn the departed, a living funeral is a celebration of life, love, and relationships while the person is still amongst us.

The concept of a living funeral may seem strange to some but offers an opportunity for individuals to hear the heartfelt words often shared at regular funerals. Typically, at real funerals, the person at the heart of the ceremony isn’t there to receive the love. A living funeral changes this narrative by creating an environment wherein the person can readily absorb the love and appreciation from those who matter most to them.

Living funerals have been increasingly popular as it provides closure not just for people in anticipation of death, but also for those who want to make the most of their relationships. It redefines the perception of funerals and challenges us to live fully and love deeply.

What do you say at a living funeral?

At a living funeral, you will be required to console the person. Good things and highlight of the person can be mentioned. The living funeral is arranged so it will document several things that the person who is being celebrated will be remembered for. Some parts of a living funeral include things such as.

Introduction of the event

The event starts with an introduction where an outline of activities will be explained to the audience. The event involves discussions of different activities, just like how an ordinary funeral is arranged. The only difference between the living funeral and other funerals is the absence of the body to be buried.

Short eulogies from prearranged speakers

There is a section where the prearranged speakers will offer short eulogies at a living funeral. They can outline remarkable events in the person’s life being celebrated, among other issues. The short eulogies will involve an outline of different issues that face people. Conclusion: there is a need to come up with short eulogies and explain so it will be easy to highlight the good things that a person has been able to achieve. We cover eulogies in depth in our What is a Eulogy article.

Funeral music

There is a section where funeral music will be played. The honoree selects the funeral music. There are different types of funeral music out there that people will have to choose. The funeral progression will involve music that will touch on different issues. Funeral music is common in funerals. The careful selection of the funeral songs will lead to the closure that those who arrange for the living funeral are looking forward to achieving. You can find many ideas in our Best Music for a Funeral post.

Attendees offering their own words of remembrance

Close family, friends, and family will attend a living funeral. Many people who would attend will know the person personally and have things to say about the person who is being celebrated. The living funeral will have a section where those who attend will be allowed to offer words of encouragement or feelings about the person who is about to die.

Favorite poems and passages from books

The person about to die may have liked certain passages from books and poems. They can have the passages read. The poems can be sung at the funeral to honor the person who is about to die. There is a section where the honoree’s favorite songs are sung to remember him for the good deeds they did.

How to conduct a living funeral

There are several steps you need to take when arranging a living funeral. First, you need to assess the merits and demerits of a living funeral then decide whether it is the best thing to do or not. Here are some of the steps you can take to prepare a living funeral.

Plan for the memorial service

A living funeral involves a memorial service. You can plan for a memorial service attended by people close to you. Some people would like to hold the memorial service in specific venues. There is a need to plan the venue.

Select a date

You need to choose a date early and invite people. Give people enough time to plan for the funeral and attend. You can involve an event planner who will develop measures and ensure the venue will be set and ready to receive the guests.

Choose the location

There are several locations you can choose for the event. You have different preferences when it comes to choosing the venue. Take into consideration your preferences and choose your preferred venue.

Send invitations

People should know what you are planning to have. Send invitations to people whom you would like to attend the social event. You can ask them to attend on such a given date, and they will be readily available to offer the necessary help.

Prepare enough food

People would like to eat and celebrate your special day. Ensure you prepare enough food for the guests to enjoy eating. When you prepare enough food, it will be easy for the guests to enjoy eating. We offer funeral menu suggestions in our What Do You Do After a Funeral post or take a look at our post on traditional funeral potatoes.


The living funeral involves celebrating life. You should have some form of activities that will celebrate your life. Those who attend the venue will be prepared to relax and celebrate your life even if death is near.

How to conduct a Living Funeral Amid Excessive Heat

A living funeral isn’t your everyday event. It’s a celebration of life, a unique option to honor someone close while they are still around. Whether it’s a hospice patient or a loved one savoring their final days, a living funeral touches the core of our existence and death’s imminent reality. However, conducting these funerals amidst an excessive heat warning poses some challenges.

First off, considering the excessive heat, it’s vital to ensure everyone in attendance remains cool and comfortable. Heat emergencies can turn celebrations into tragedies, so it’s essential to cater for an escape from the torrid heat. Whether it’s arranging the funeral indoors with sufficient air conditioning or hiring a tent with cooling systems, make sure you’re ready to beat the heat. You could also plan the living funeral during a cooler part of the day.

Additionally, provide ample water resources to keep everyone hydrated and consider lighter meals which are heat-friendly. As we navigate this mortal coil, amidst the precarious nature of life, a living funeral remains a significant event. As such, even with the heat warning, the celebration of life in a living funeral shouldn’t be dampened. So, let’s adapt to these excessive temperatures as we honor our loved ones.

Precautions to Take for a Living Funeral in a Heat Warning

A living funeral is a unique way to celebrate life; it’s a comforting space where friends and loved ones come together to appreciate the honoree while they are still alive. While planning a living funeral in regular weather poses its challenges, organizing one during a heat warning, especially in places like Arizona or California, introduces an extra set of precautions to consider.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to make the living funeral as comfortable as possible for the honoree and guests. High temperatures could lead to heat exhaustion or worse, heat stroke. So, if an outdoor setting is preferred, considering shaded areas or early morning hours when the sun’s rays aren’t as harsh would be ideal. Keep lots of water handy and ensure there are plenty of options for staying cool like fans or cooling mist sprays, particularly if the event is a longer duration. If it’s an indoor living funeral, make sure your location has a good air conditioning system.

Remember, the goal is to cherish the person’s life, not put anyone’s health at risk. So, when planning for funerals during a heat warning, make these necessary adjustments and give everyone the opportunity to concentrate on celebrating a life well-lived rather than worrying about the temperatures.

A New Approach: The Forest Living Funeral

The concept of a living funeral stems from the thought of celebrating life while we’re still living. However, a new approach to this concept has emerged, known as ‘The Forest Living Funeral’. This unique style of a living funeral steps away from traditional norms and immerses the individual in the serene surroundings of a forest. Essentially, it’s about communing with nature, taking a moment to appreciate life and read tales of personal experiences.

A forest living funeral can offer a distinct, natural solace to the living. Surrounded by the whispers of trees, one can confront their own mortality. To truly experience this, you need to understand what a living funeral is. It’s an opportunity to express love, forgiveness, gratitude, and other profound feelings before the permanent separation by death.

However, with tranquility also comes the caution of external weather conditions. Conducting a living funeral amid excessive heat requires prior preparedness. Adequate precautions should be taken during a heat warning to ensure comfort and safety while commemorating life and confronting impending death.

Facing our mortality amid life’s constant ebb and flow can be a transformative experience. Living funerals, particularly those conducted in nature’s lap, can significantly help in defining this experience.

How much does a living funeral cost?

A living funeral will cost between $300 to $7,000. Several processes involved in a living funeral will contribute to the cost. For example, you need to book a venue. The venue will be paid for. The food and the catering services will be paid for. The different activities undertaken during the living funeral will lead to the costs. It is essential to plan in advance and raise funds. What is a living funeral? Is it right for you? There are several factors you need to check out before deciding.

Difference between a Living Funeral and a Traditional Funeral Service

The difference between a living funeral and a traditional funeral service is quite significant. As funeral resources would suggest, a living funeral is a novel concept that refers to a memorial service for someone who is still alive. In contrast, a traditional funeral service is conducted after a person’s death. The living funeral, contrary to what one would initially think, is not a gloomy occasion but instead a celebration of life, giving an opportunity for the person to read heartfelt messages or hear eulogies in their honor.

One could argue that a living funeral seems more alive, more filled with life than its traditional counterpart. It enables individuals to express their love, admiration, and share fun or precious memories while the person is still alive thereby enriching their life. Traditional funerals, on the other hand, are often overwhelming with grief, mourning the death of the person. They exhibit a finality that the living funeral doesn’t have. With this new concept, death is acknowledged but not yet realized.

A living funeral can take various forms. Somewhat innovative are the ideas such as the Forest Living Funeral, an eco-friendly way of honoring an individual’s life. However, careful precautions need to be taken, especially when the weather is excessively hot. Nevertheless, the contrast between traditional funerals and living funerals provides a fresh perspective on how to celebrate life and deal with the inevitable: death.

Comparing Funeral Services: Living Funeral vs Traditional Funeral

When you’re getting ready to say goodbye, you’ll need to choose between a traditional funeral and a living funeral. There are crucial distinctions between these two types of funeral services, both of which aim to celebrate life. The most notable difference is the time they’re held. Traditional funerals usually occur after the person’s death, whilst a living funeral, or a live funeral, happens while they’re still alive.

The concept of a living funeral may seem unusual at first, but it’s becoming increasingly popular. Living funerals offer an opportunity for the person in question to participate in their own farewell, hear the eulogies, and embrace the love of family and friends. Home funeral, a form of living funeral, often has a more intimate feel as it’s usually held at the person’s residence, providing an atmosphere that allows for open conversations and reflections about life.

On the other hand, a traditional funeral focuses more on remembering the individual after they’ve passed away and offers a structured program for those attending. Despite the heat warnings associated with carrying out a funerals in hot weather, solutions such as forest living funerals are emerging that combine the celebratory aspects of living funerals with the respect afforded by traditional ones.

Exploring the Idea of Living Funerals in Forests

When it comes to the subject of living funerals, the idea of these ceremonies taking place in forests might come across as peculiar. Yet, it’s a riveting concept to consider, building on the essence of what living funerals are all about – celebrating life while the person in question is still living.

Unlike traditional funerals, which happen post-death, living funerals offer an explicit space, real and emotional, for the dying to express themselves, and for the loved ones to respect and come to terms with the inevitable truth ahead. For many, the closeness to nature adds to the tranquility and healing that these unique ceremonies offer. Forests, in this scenario, don’t just serve as venues but evolve into nurturing sanctuaries, allowing an intimate connection amongst the nature, living, and dying.

Conducting living funerals in forests can also create a life-affirming environment significantly different from the somber atmosphere of regular funeral services. However, funeral directors need to be well-prepared and consider factors like weather conditions – for instance, excessive heat can complicate the proceedings, hence requiring a heat warning plan.

A forest living funeral is not just an alternation to conventional funerals, but also a profound tribute to the cycle of life and death.

What Makes a Forest Living Funeral Unique?

So what specifically makes a forest living funeral stand out among living funerals? Well, the unique experience unfolds in a place unlike any other- a forest. This majestic setting lends a truly special feel to the living wake. There is something undeniably comforting about being surrounded by ancient trees and the soothing sounds of nature. Many people find inner peace in a forest and holding a living funeral in such a place can be utterly soul-touching.

Unlike traditional funerals, where mourners gather after a person’s passing, living funerals take place while the person is still alive, offering them an opportunity to hear the sentiments generally shared posthumously. It’s about making the person feel loved and valued while they can still appreciate and reciprocate that love. It’s about giving care to an individual who is preparing for their inevitable departure. The forest imparts an element of serenity to this emotional experience.

The concept of a living catch is more relaxed, more intimate. People gather, conveying their feelings without the somber formality typically associated with funerals. A forest living funeral is an innovative approach that combines the concept of a living wake with the enchanting ambiance of natural settings, intensifying the whole experience and making it memorable as well as emotionally healing.

Transformative Experience of a Living Funeral

Living funerals aren’t just an alternative way to celebrate life and death, they can provide a transformative experience on so many levels. The very concept of a living funeral is a dramatic departure from how death is typically handled. Traditional funerals are often somber affairs where the focus is on the person who has already passed. But a living funeral turns this concept on its head by celebrating life, while the person is still alive.

These types of funerals can be incredibly cathartic for both the person dying and their family. Far from being a grim reminder of imminent death, they offer a safe space for loved ones to say their goodbyes, express their emotions, share memories, and in doing so, process their grief ahead of time. While a traditional funeral service tends to be a reactive response to death, a living funeral, on the other hand, is a proactive step towards accepting mortality and embracing life in all its fullness.

This gives the person dying a chance to take part in their own send-off, during moments of lucidity amid the inevitable decline that often follows a terminal diagnosis. It’s not just a funeral, it’s a living testament to life itself.

Final Thoughts: Would you Like to Have a Living Funeral?

Some people may be opposed to the living funeral. You may like to have a living funeral, but other people may not be ready to accept the fact that you accept death is coming. You may have to consult with people close to you and decide whether having a living funeral will be the right idea.

Living funerals are unique. Instead of focusing on death and loss, living funerals place the emphasis on life and love. As we’ve explored, the transformative experience of a living funeral is unparalleled. It evolves the traditional view of a funeral and turns the ceremony into a celebration of life.

If you think about it, a wake helps the family cope with the pain. A living funeral, however, offers the family an opportunity to mend bonds, forgive, make amends, and celebrate together. But would you choose to host a living funeral? It’s a personal choice that requires careful planning. You might feel comfortable having an online ceremony, allowing friends and family from across the county and beyond to witness your life celebration.

You might have a different view. You could choose an immersive experience, perhaps a forest living funeral. Such a ceremony incorporates nature, making it unique and symbolic. So do sign up for a living funeral? Picture it, a moving, open-hearted celebration of your life, while you’re still here to enjoy it!

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Readinform is a Wisconsin based writer for funerals explained. They have come to understand the struggles of death and loss. Through life experience they have gathered the knowledge to help others and answer questions related to the funeral industry. When not writing readyinform focuses on learning new things and exploring the differences society offers.

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