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NWR: Throwing her own funeral

lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
edited May 2017 in Wedding Etiquette Forum
This was a Dear Abby letter recently. It struck me as, at the least, a bit odd. Also seems to be very AWish. I'm curious what others think of this from an etiquette standpoint and otherwise. It is throwing a party in your own honor. 

DEAR ABBY: Visitations after a death provide an opportunity for friends and family to see people they may not have seen in a long time. (Except for the immediate family, everyone has a good time!) I have decided that I don't want to miss mine, so I have decided to have it on my 75th birthday. There will be food, drink and photos on the big-screen TV.

My question is, what should I call it? A "celebration of my life" seems presumptuous, but I can't think of anything better. I plan to repeat this event every five years until I'm dead, in a coma, or run out of money for the caterer. Any ideas? -- STUCK FOR A LABEL


Re: NWR: Throwing her own funeral

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited May 2017
    I am so offended by this idea!  It is a birthday party!  Nothing else!

    I am currently planning my own funeral - to be held at a later date which will be determined by God.  I've written it down for DH and children to read so they know what I wanted.  I'm writing my own obituary because I know DH won't be in any condition to do it, and I want to make it easier for him.  Not much in my life to brag about except the love of family.  We bought the grave sites last week and talked about monument markers.  Just being prepared.

    Ickkk!  This makes me mad!!!!  Have a great birthday party, Lady, but that is all it will be!
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    STARMOON44DrillSergeantCatSP29MesmrEwe
  • redoryxredoryx member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    This is not at all what I was expecting. I'm all for this for terminally ill patients but this? This is a fucking birthday party.
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    ahoyweddingDrillSergeantCatOurWildKingdom
  • Yeah, has this woman never heard of a birthday party?   


    SP29
  • Ro041Ro041 member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I am generally not offended by people who throw themselves a birthday party.  My grandma did it for her 80th birthday and since she paid for everything (the venue, the food, the alcohol), the amount of money she expended far exceeded the trinkets she got from friends and family.  

    Why is she thinking so much about this?  It's a milestone birthday and she should just call it a birthday party.

    OurWildKingdom
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Last week I told a story to CMG about my great aunt who never married, never had an SO and no kids.  She arranged for her own funeral.  She had money in an account that one of her nieces has access to so when she DIED it was easily accessible for them.  She picked out the venue and all.  She died in her 80's.  There was some 200+ people, eating, drinking, laughing and just generally had a great time celebrating her life.  

    Now, when she was 75 she threw herself a birthday party.   Again, there was some 200+ people.  There was food, booze, dancing, laughing and speeches about how awesome Aunt G was.   

    I actually get why she wants it this way.  People drop everything to attend a funeral than a birthday party.  Some families do not have family reunions.  People will put off seeing older family members when they are alive.  Often it's well will do it next year.  Or it's "only" a birthday party, they will have another one next year.


      I'm happy my family did take Aunt G's 75 as something special.  We actually came in from OOT to attend.   It was fun to see all the extend family at a celebration of life. 

    While understand the reason, I don't think it's appropriate.   Just have a celebration of life/birthday party.  






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    cupcait927justsie
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    There are a few hypochondriacs in my family, who like to tell us to bring them flowers, tell them we love them, spend time with them etc... while they're still alive, because who knows, they could be dead tomorrow. They get a bruise, they think it might be leukemia, pimples are 'growths,' heart palpitations are regular events. I'd be really annoyed to be invited to a funeral for a living person.

    The woman is probably going to be very disappointed if she expects to be eulogized at her 'funeral.' She should have a grand party if she wants, but it should be a birthday party, family reunion or 4th of July bbq. She should enjoy the company of her loved ones without reminding them that her days are numbered.



                       
    OurWildKingdom
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I agree she should just call it a birthday party. And I should have used a different title. I don't think there's a problem with planning your own funeral, just actually throwing it while you're still alive. 

    And I tend to think this probably won't be as well attended as she hopes. While it probably should be as @lyndausvi talked about it, people will probably prioritize an actual funeral over something like this, kind of like how people prioritize actual weddings over PPDs or AHRs. 

    CMGragain
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited May 2017
    For the last ten years I have been a regular at the Cancer Center.  Over the years, I have met many people who are fighting to stay alive.  Many of them are much younger than I am.  I've seen children with no hair and huge bruises from chemo, and who are still positive about life.  I've seen patients come with their entire families, who are there for support.  (One family brought donuts for the  staff and waiting room!)  Every day I check the obituaries to see if any of my friends are listed.  Often, I see their names.

    The idea that someone wants to have a PPD Funeral is very offensive.  This lady wants a party to celebrate herself!  Funerals are for the survivors.  They give the family and friends closure and comfort.  They are not about celebrating the deceased.  My taste in funerals runs to the traditional and simple, just like weddings.

    This lady needs to get over herself and go volunteer to help other people who are worse off than she is.  The idea that she needs a party to celebrate her life, and that she is planning it to honor herself, is disgusting and offensive to all those people who are fighting for life every day.
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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its

    CMGragain said:

    For the last ten years I have been a regular at the Cancer Center.  Over the years, I have met many people who are fighting to stay alive.  Many of them are much younger than I am.  I've seen children with no hair and huge bruises from chemo, and who are still positive about life.  I've seen patients come with their entire families, who are there for support.  (One family brought donuts for the  staff and waiting room!)  Every day I check the obituaries to see if any of my friends are listed.  Often, I see their names.

    The idea that someone wants to have a PPD Funeral is very offensive.  This lady wants a party to celebrate herself!  Funerals are for the survivors.  They give the family and friends closure and comfort.  They are not about celebrating the deceased.  My taste in funerals runs to the traditional and simple, just like weddings.

    This lady needs to get over herself and go volunteer to help other people who are worse off than she is.  The idea that she needs a party to celebrate her life, and that she is planning it to honor herself, is disgusting and offensive to all those people who are fighting for life every day.


    I'm sorry you feel that way.  

    If you are older than 30 we celebrated our deceased life more than we morn their departure.  To an outside it looks like a party.  Drinking, laughing and yes crying.  Lots of stories.

      That is what my family does and it's not disrespectful to them or anyone else or might be fighting for their own life.   I think it's ridiculous to think people can't celebrate someone's life because there is someone else who might be fighting for their own.  



    Your or anyone else's pain does not mean other's can celebrate another's life.  I'm not sure how it;s disrespectful to you that my aunt wanted to have a celebration of life and threw her own party.     Aunt G was a selfless women who lived through the depression.  Her life was not easy at all.  However,  she taught us that even when life is bad, there is still joy to be had.   If a 75 year old women who wants to celebrate life after all the shitty stuff she had to go through, more power to them.  

    It in no way affects you and your life.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    banana468ei34ahoywedding
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited May 2017
    Look, if someone wants to have a party, then I'm fine with that.  Calling it a funeral and planning the party to be all  about themselves it what I find outrageous.  If a family wants to honor someone with a special party, OK.  If the honoree wants the party to be about themselves, then it is no different than a bride who wants to give her own bachelorette party.
    Leave the word FUNERAL out of it!  That is a sensitive word for too many people who are fighting with death.  The original post made me so angry I had trouble sleeping last night, and I don't usually get upset by Knot postings.
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    JediElizabeth
  • When I'm old, I'm sure I'll host my own birthday parties. I will make them fabulous, host to the nines, and I will give no fucks. Did I get a 6 tier cake in my own honor? Yes I did and it was delicious. 

    But I will not call it a funeral. It seems disrespectful to people who really are staring death in the face. And also, simply calling it a funeral in order to obligate people to come? Nah. 
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    MairePoppyJediElizabethOurWildKingdomSP29


  • When I'm old, I'm sure I'll host my own birthday parties. I will make them fabulous, host to the nines, and I will give no fucks. Did I get a 6 tier cake in my own honor? Yes I did and it was delicious. 

    But I will not call it a funeral. It seems disrespectful to people who really are staring death in the face. And also, simply calling it a funeral in order to obligate people to come? Nah. 



    I wanted to add also, that I think milestone birthdays for older people tend to have guests making more of an effort to go.  Because, people get it.  That person may not be around for even their next birthday.  Much less their next milestone birthday.

    My mom threw an 80th birthday party for my grandma a couple years ago.  People flew out from Hawaii and Ohio to attend.

    This is a little off topic, but I am still a bit bitter.  I wasn't invited.  I didn't even know about the party until a week before it was happening.  The other OOT guests were retired so, I'm assuming I wasn't invited because my mom just figured I wouldn't be able to come.  She was wrong.  I had plenty of vacation time and would have been there with bells on, if I'd been invited and given some notice to make my travel arrangements.

    Like we always tell the people on TK, don't "not" invite someone from OOT or invite them but assume their not coming.  Let THEM make the decision they can't make it.  And always assume 100% attendance.  People might surprise you. 

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  • When I'm old, I'm sure I'll host my own birthday parties. I will make them fabulous, host to the nines, and I will give no fucks. Did I get a 6 tier cake in my own honor? Yes I did and it was delicious. 

    But I will not call it a funeral. It seems disrespectful to people who really are staring death in the face. And also, simply calling it a funeral in order to obligate people to come? Nah. 





    I wanted to add also, that I think milestone birthdays for older people tend to have guests making more of an effort to go.  Because, people get it.  That person may not be around for even their next birthday.  Much less their next milestone birthday.

    My mom threw an 80th birthday party for my grandma a couple years ago.  People flew out from Hawaii and Ohio to attend.

    This is a little off topic, but I am still a bit bitter.  I wasn't invited.  I didn't even know about the party until a week before it was happening.  The other OOT guests were retired so, I'm assuming I wasn't invited because my mom just figured I wouldn't be able to come.  She was wrong.  I had plenty of vacation time and would have been there with bells on, if I'd been invited and given some notice to make my travel arrangements.

    Like we always tell the people on TK, don't "not" invite someone from OOT or invite them but assume their not coming.  Let THEM make the decision they can't make it.  And always assume 100% attendance.  People might surprise you. 



    I can see how this hurts, and I know exactly what you mean. BF and I are considering attending a wedding in Asia next year because it sounded cool! It's a friend, but not a BEST friend, so you never know!

    For my grandma's 80th birthday all of her kids and grandkids took her on a nice trip to a lifelong "dream" destination. We all made it a huge priority because, like you said, we got it. It turned out it was the last birthday we got to celebrate with her, so we were all thrilled we did it!
    ILoveBeachMusicshort+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers


    When I'm old, I'm sure I'll host my own birthday parties. I will make them fabulous, host to the nines, and I will give no fucks. Did I get a 6 tier cake in my own honor? Yes I did and it was delicious. 

    But I will not call it a funeral. It seems disrespectful to people who really are staring death in the face. And also, simply calling it a funeral in order to obligate people to come? Nah. 


    This is where I'm at.

    If you want to throw a sweet awesome party, go for it! I don't care if anyone hosts their own birthday party. As long as I am being properly hosted and not lied to, I'll attend pretty much anything. Cake on!

    But to call it a funeral seems VERY odd, and particularly when one is not actively dying, does seem insensitive. I also think the fact that LW plans to host one every 5 years is going to take away from the original intent.

    This was definitely not what I was expecting when I read the title. When my Mom's friend found out her cancer was terminal, she planned her own funeral+ party (nice venue, full lunch, open bar with tequila shots), but it took place upon her passing. It was her own way of giving a nod to her life and how she wanted to be remembered. I also read a story in the newspaper recently of a man who chose assisted dying, as per the new Canadian legislation. He/his family planned a living wake with his favourite food and then he planned to pass the next day. Very different from what LW is describing.
    OurWildKingdomILoveBeachMusicsparklepants41short+sassy
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