Learn. Share. Plan.
Boomers Are Doing It Their Way
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Olympic runner Louis Zamperini once said “life is about experiencing all the things you find interesting and fascinating. Participate in life.” As you care for your loved ones approaching their finish line and as you begin to think about our own, it’s worth reflecting on that idea of participation.
What have you done in your life that is interesting and fascinating? What can you do to help create lasting memories for you and your loved ones? How do you want your loved ones to feel as they say goodbye? These questions are at the forefront of Linda Stuart’s work as a celebrant and officiant.
"When my father started working in the funeral industry, planning was always very traditional and cookie-cutter and it was hard to break away from the mould,” says Stuart. “But in the past decade, we’ve seen a shift of what people are looking for – more customization and a desire for experiences.”
Through her work, Linda has found Baby Boomers are beginning to feel more comfortable talking about death. They want to create healing and heartfelt funerals for their loved ones and themselves.
“They’ve been to ‘bad’ funerals where there has been talk about how much a loved one relished in fine cuisine and then – mistakenly – the eulogist discusses her love of cooking, when ultimately, she hated being in the kitchen,” says Stuart. “Boomers realize that they don’t want this for themselves or their loved ones. They want a ‘good’ funeral that welcomes all feelings and creates a lasting memory for their loved ones left behind.”
This trend is reflected in a recent survey by Arbor Memorial, which found nearly half of Canadians (45 percent) want to customize their own funeral. The findings also show that 53 percent envision their end-of-life memorial as a “celebration of life” rather than an event filled with mourning.
Stuart has six tips on how you can start thinking about your own memorable ceremony of remembrance:
- Stories – What moments have shaped you into the person you are? Who did you share them with? Consider them to be the best person to share your stories in the form of eulogies.
- Symbols and Rituals – Love golf? Stuart recalls one ceremony where friends and family were all given golf tees upon arrival. They were then invited to place it in the vault that housed the person’s urn.
- Music – Setting the tone and background with music can create a strong impression. Think about how you want to open and close your ceremony. Is there a song with a message you want to share with your loved ones?
- Experience – How have you felt when surrounded by your loved ones? Feelings are what we cherish alongside memories.
- Legacy – How do you imagine others will remember you and how do you want to be remembered?
- Don’t do it alone – Involve others in the process. Ask your family and friends how they imagine their grief journey.
“Remember, your funeral is not a gift you give yourself, but rather a gift you give to those who love you,” says Stuart.
To learn more about the role of life-cycle celebrants and Linda’s story, click here.