Would You Host Your Own Living Funeral?

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Apparently in Taiwan there’s a new trend of people throwing their own funerals while they’re on their deathbeds, but not yet dead. The goal is basically to allow people to say everything they want to say before they go, and also to allow them to hear all the nice things everyone has to say about them.
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Who among us hasn’t wondered what how we would be eulogized, and who would show up for the funeral?

A “living funeral” can take the form of a speech, a concert, a trip or a painting exhibition which is meaningful for the person who knows death is approaching, he said, adding some do not plan conventional funerals afterwards.”They can say aloud the things they want others to know and fulfill their last wishes before it’s too late,” Chou said.”Hearing the eulogies while they are still alive can help them face the final stage with ease.”
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This sounds cool, in many ways. And I think people who are sick often do a less formal version of this, anyway. My mother died a month after her 55th birthday, and because she was so sick we threw her a huge 55th birthday party, with out of town guests, teary toasts, and huge amounts of food. We weren’t calling it a funeral, but we were really doing our best to make sure she heard everyone tell her how much she meant to them, and how much she had accomplished.

Still, I would stop short of hosting a pre-death funeral. There is something so comforting about knowing that everyone will be coming together after you die. It’s very unselfish in a way that a pre-death funeral can’t be. (Dying people are allowed to be selfish, of course, but I do think there’s something nice about memorializing a person publicly after she dies.)

Also, I can’t put my finger on why, exactly, but this strikes me as very un-Jewish.

Posted on November 3, 2009

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