Celebrating a Life: Planning Memorial Services and Other Creative Remembrances by Faith Moore (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2009) provides many good insights for memorial service or funeral planning.
Moore has a wealth of creative ideas for meaningful ways to honor a loved one. I especially like how she refers to the deceased as “the honoree” rather than well-worn phrases such as the dearly departed, the loved one, the person who died, etc.
In this book, you will find good advice on most of the elements that go into creating a meaningful, memorable event — appropriate as she is an event planner based in Boston. And she talks about the importance of planning a memorial service, a.k.a. “the ultimate event,” comparing it to wedding planning.
From the book: “One of the primary reasons for having a wedding is to create a memory for friends, family, and the couple, to earmark the transition from son and daughter to husband and wife. No other celebration is traditionally as elaborate or as festive. The next celebration that serves that same purpose, to acknowledge a major life transition, is the memorial service. On average, people have three days to plan a memorial service for a loved one. Weddings, on the other hand, can take months or even years to plan. Considering the importance of the event, there is no reason that a memorial service should not be planned in advance, just like a wedding.”
Moore suggests starting with three questions to creatively plan a memorial service that captures your essence: “What are your wishes?” “How do you want to be remembered?” and “What best symbolizes who you are?”
The book covers topics such as selecting a location, eulogy writing, traditions and symbols, poetry, music, and more. More than one third of the book is devoted to readings and listing music that could be used in a memorial service.
Moore also discusses what she calls second chances, the opportunity to create a memorable life celebration after a funeral has been held in a rush. She even has tips on how to surreptitiously plan for those who don’t want to discuss the topic of death.
Kudos to Faith Moore for Celebrating a Life! It provides much top-notch information in a concise 192-page package.