My funeral is going to be at a Dairy Queen. I can just envision everyone eating Blizzards (hopefully Turtles!), sharing stories of their memories with me while my favourite ’90s playlist is blaring in the background (while someone is yelling “the music is too loud, can someone turn it down?!”). Of course, my ideas may change closer to when I die, hopefully in 60 years from now.
Luckily, the concept of an unconventional funeral is on the rise. More and more people like me are sick of the traditional “grandma’s living room”-feeling funerals where the music is somber and the atmosphere ironically makes you want to kill yourself. I don’t think that’s what most people envision for themselves but that’s either all they know or they haven’t expressed their wishes to their families. This leaves family member’s guessing at the deceased’s wishes and, due to time constraints, they often resort to funeral homes taking over the planning.
Personalized offbeat funerals are a THING
Enter offbeat funeral planners like myself! Not only do we take a lot of the planning work off your shoulders, but we make it so your loved one is commemorated in a personalized fashion. Were they a poutine lover? Poutine bar (yes, I’m Canadian)! Huge sports fan? Have the game on during their celebration and decorate in their favourite sports team’s colours! Just as you can have an offbeat wedding, you can have an offbeat funeral and the options are endless. In Puerto Rico, a young man who was an avid motorcycle lover was embalmed and displayed on his Honda CBR600 during his visitation.
It’s not just the funeral itself that can be personalised. What about a humorous obituary? I’m sure people would rather read about that embarrassing time you got up in front of your whole school and sang the YMCA dressed up as the village people with your friends (true story) vs. knowing that you were the head of the Swimming for Seniors Club from 1999-2007. Here is a great example from the late James “Jim” Groth in Louisiana who “died knowing that Monty Python and the Holy Grail was the best movie ever.”
Once the celebration is said and done then there’s the matter of what to do with your ashes. A music lover? Have your ashes etched into a vinyl record! A nature enthusiast? Have your ashes scattered in your favorite outdoor location (be sure to check local laws on this one first though!). If you want your body to be disposed of as eco-friendly as possible, consider a natural burial, aquamation, or a green cremation.
Whichever type of celebration you would like for yourself, I encourage you to voice it, or better yet, write it down for your family so they know your wishes. I also encourage you to talk about death openly and honestly with those around you. It has become such a taboo subject when it really shouldn’t be. Wonderfully brave people like Caitlin Doughty, who has spearheaded the Death Positive movement, are making waves in the funeral industry to encourage more conversation around death. I am making it my life’s mission to do the same… over a tasty treat at DQ!