In a recent Dear Abby column, a correspondent posed a question about whether it would be appropriate to hold a 75th birthday party as a “Celebration of My Life — So Far.” This person is enjoying retirement in good health and has a comfortable lifestyle. From the column:
I’m excited about it and eagerly anticipating more than 60 guests for cocktails and a sit-down dinner at a nearby hotel.
It’s not uncommon these days for a celebration of life to be held after someone dies. However, I prefer to have mine BEFORE I leave this Earth so I can celebrate along with my loved ones. I want to be there, especially since I’m the one who’s paying for it!
What do you think of my idea? Would you enjoy partaking in such a special event? — THINKING AHEAD IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR THINKING AHEAD: I think it’s a terrific idea. And yes, I would enjoy celebrating such a special event, if I were invited. When is this party? I’ll be standing by my mailbox!
Wow, Dear Abby approves! And I approve, too. We really do need to recognize how special our lives are, while we are living them.
I wrote about living memorial services in A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die. The idea was presented in the funeral scene in Waking Ned Devine. It’s a beautiful way to celebrate life, without the tears. And yet, tears will come as we appreciate our loved ones while we are all together in this lifetime.