The inevitability of death can loom over life, even as we live it. And whether triggered by our own poor health or the sudden loss of a loved one, mortality can leave us feeling powerless when we least expect it. Creating anger where it feels unjust, and anxiety when unpredictable. Regardless of the context or individual relation to loss, it's normal to feel a range of complex emotions when thinking about the topic.
In contrast to traditional aversion, planning ahead can help alleviate some of this anxiety for whenever death eventually comes. Because frankly, whether we’re on the latest health kick trend or got our head firmly in the sand, death isn’t a gateway we can perfectly time or avoid the crossing of all together. It's the ultimate trade-off for living on this planet. The necessary end for every form of life. And arguably, as we’d like to suggest, it's what can give that same existence its very meaning.
It's the scarce nature of our time which makes it so precious. In an unlimited supply of life with an unlimited number of do-overs, the choices we make and the people we share our time with would become arbitrary. Scarcity creates value in climbing your chosen ladders with the knowledge that you can’t climb them all in one lifespan. So in reflecting on death in this way, we encourage you to shift how you prepare for it in life.
Planning your own wake is an important step in this process, and can provide an empowering way to shape how your unique time and legacy will be remembered. Moreover, it can reunite you with important life goals, inspire you to live more fully and provide a healing outlet for loved ones for when your time comes.
Read on for 4 things to think about when deciding on your wake:
Type of Service
Think about what would be meaningful to you. Would you prefer a religious service, or a more secular one? Traditional, or more informal? There's no real rules in planning your own wake, other than deciding what's going to best reflect what's important to you in life, and in death.
Reconnecting with these life values can encourage and inspire you to actively live in accordance with how you’d like to be remembered. Ensuring that these beliefs are embodied in your everyday life, rather than just your goodbye.
Would you rather have a small, intimate and close family gathering? Would you like to have friends, colleagues, or a wider invite to remember you by? Writing this list of people in advance can be an important way to ensure all your important people get the opportunity to remember you.
This task can also serve as that important prompt for you to make that call or lock in that catch up date with an old friend. Making this list when you're still alive avoids the heartbreak of leaving it too long, or the regret of allowing a fallout to get in the way of an important relationship. In helping clarify your important people, you can make the most of each other whilst you're both still here.
Whether it's your family or personal home, a special outdoor location or a completely irrelevant detail to you; planning the location of your wake in advance can provide guidance to your family and friends when trying to navigate life without you.
4. The Meaningful Details
You may also want to consider any special requests you have for the wake, such as any meaningful readings, songs or photos you’d like to be a part of the day. Whether this is in the form of memory trees, photo albums or back tracks which determine the vibe, it's up to you how you'd like your energy to live on in your goodbye.
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