Planning my moms celebration of her life


New Member
I think I have everything pretty much organized and under control. The hall is booked, the food is ordered, the obituary will run on Sunday and tomorrow my easy child daughter and I will work on the photo end of it. We are going to place a framed photo on every table and then do a few collages of photos. I think my dad will be very pleased with what we have arranged.

it's a very strange feeling because it's like I'm planning a party that I feel guilty being excited about, but in a way I am excited. Is that strange? I think I'm excited because it's going to be nice and we are going to see family and friends we haven't seen in many years who will be sharing great memories of my mom.

My dad will be here Monday, so we have a day to relax before everything. He will stay for two weeks, then head back to Florida. That will be the hard part for him, but I think he will be o.k. He has many friends who have been there for him over the past few weeks and I'm sure will continue to be.

I'm glad it's Friday :smile:


Your mom would be proud. You are a very strong person. Hope all goes well and you share some great memories.


Active Member
There's absolutely nothing weird about being excited about a gathering honoring a great person. Here's why:

When a person passes, they leave a small piece of themselves in the hearts of those who loved a knew them. When you get many of those people together who have them in their hearts, it's like the person is there with them.

I'm one of 6 kids, my mom died when I was 19 and there were 3 sisters after me. Any time all 6 of us get together, it "feels" as if mom's there with us. Someone will say something, notice something or do something that makes all of us laugh. She's gone over 20 years now, but we remember her life as if she was still in the room while we're goofing off.

Celebrate, enjoy the individual memories that each person is sure to have, and don't feel weird at all!



New Member
Thank you Beth. That makes so much sense.

KJS, I'm not sure how strong I really am. I think I'm just pretending because I am the one who always organizes everything from family dinners to vacations. I have a feeling after Wednesday when I have no more to organize, that is when I will be able to allow myself to fall apart for a little while.


Well-Known Member
I'm the organizer, estate administrator etc. in my family too,
Karen...and I'm the baby of the family for heavens
In my case it took many months before my grief rose to the surface. There were too many things to do, too many people to worry about, too many papers to file etc. By the time I had time
to grieve, everyone else had been there done that.

Your plan sounds terrific. That is what I would like when it is
my time. A festive gathering which hopefully I will be able to
enjoy from afar as I sip a heavenly cocktail surrounded by old friends and family members.

Your Mom will be so proud. Hugs. DDD


call 911

Haven't been here for a while. I'm sorry for your loss. I read how you are planning the celebration of life and I think your idea is simply phenominal! What a way to say I loved you my whole life and still do. I think your party is the epitome of respect and dedication.

My Mom says a funeral should be a celebration of life. This is the same thing my Mom said should happen when she leaves this earth. - I truly think it's beautiful and certainly a lot more respectful of who she was. Just lovely (tears).

Hugs & Prayers


New Member
I need to thank you all so much. As much as I feel it is a great idea, there have been moments when I wasn't sure if people would think the arrangements were somewhat bizarre. I actually laid awake the other night thinking that and questioning if we shouldn't have just had a traditional funeral, even though it wasn't what she wanted. I know there will be a few people who attend who will think it's "different" but as long as her family is comfortable with it, and we all are, that is all that should matter.


call 911

Don't second guess yourself. If it were a birthday party and you made ALL the arrangements absolutely perfect, the right cake, matching streamers, perfect gift, lovely sunny day....home cleaned, children smiling like they were all easy child and your hair and dress was spot on?


"I didn't like the..." and there you have it.

You can't please everyone all of the time, but you lived with your Mom LONGER than anyone of them, and all you can say is

Know in your heart dear...she's proud of you and your effort to celebrate her life. With that being said...celebrating her death just sounds morbid, and if your mom was anything like you? You have a right to make it a celebration.

Tell the others that squawk...."Well when it's YOUR day, we'll all be sure to have a traditional ceremony and celebrate your death - but how sad not to celebrate your life." then walk away and think of this conversation.

YOU ARE DOING GREAT KID....don't doubt yourself.



No real answers to life..
I dread going to funerals....somehow seeing a body displayed makes me cringe....I vote for the party idea!!! The picture collage would be a great idea, gets people thinking of past experiences and how they related to your mom....

From what you have described of your mom, I think she would have much appreciated your "celebration of life" party.....
You know, it would not surprise me to find out that the majority of us are the executors in our own families, considering the amount of work each of us put into running a smooth household.

Karen, we understand your excitement to be for that of the celebration, not the cause. And I think it is noteworthy that you can look at it as a celebration of your mothers life moreso than a grieving of her passing. My mom has told me since I was 11 or 12 that she wants a party with jazz music and good food when she dies. When I was younger, I did not understand that. Now I get it, and I will respect her wishes to the very best of my ability.

You also have other good things going on in your life right now, that might help make the blow a little less painful. My prayers are with you and your family. I hope your get together is as beautiful as it sounds like it will be.



(the future) MRS. GERE
Karen, when my Mom died my brother and I hosted a brunch in her honor. It was a small group of her closest friends. She also didn't want a funeral but all of us needed to remember her in some way. The tears came later but the brunch itself was warm and wonderful and full of funny and poignant stories and it was great to be together.

Your Mom will be there in spirit. You know she will be smiling.


timer lady

Queen of Hearts

I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother. My family just went through this process earlier this year. I remember everything being somewhat of a blur - no time to process emotions.

I hope you find some quiet time in the coming days BEFORE the funeral; time to cry, laugh & then cry again.

My prayers are with you & your family.


Spork Queen
I recently lost a very close friend to suicide. I don't know how his wife has made it through this. But, the one thing that I learned is I do NOT want a traditional funeral. I'd rather have everyone have a kick-a** party.

I'm sorry for your loss, but I think you have a great plan to remember your mom's spirit.



Well-Known Member
You've planned a celebration that your mom would be very proud of. Heck I'm very proud of you Karen. It's so nice that your dad will be staying with you for a couple weeks. Your posts about your mom and dad have touched my heart.



A celebration of life - how wonderful. The stories and shared memories from this celebration will carry you through the darkest days of your grief. I'm reminded of these words, though I don't remember where I heard them:

Remember me with laughter, for that is how I will remember you.
If you can only remember me with tears, please do not remember me at all.

scent of cedar

New Member
Karen, a friend of mine lost her husband recently. She and their daughters hosted a celebration of his life rather than a traditional funeral because that is the way HE wanted it. The celebration was set up in a huge tent. There was a Pastor and a 21 gun salute. There were bagpipes and two speakers. Photos were arranged in the man's woodshop ~ along with his favorite wool shirt. People were encouraged to walk through ~ and did. The food was catered ~ bratwurst and salads. Again, this is how the man himself wanted his friends to remember his funeral gathering.

It seemed a more real and friendly way of grieving than that disconnect you feel at a traditional funeral, when everyone is dressed in black and everything is so stark and artificial.

The family had pamphlets written up with the man's picture on the front. Each of the family members then chose a quote ~ either a favorite of their father's or one they felt spoke to what he had meant to them in their lives. These were the words inside the pamphlet. There were no other words and there was no explanation. Along with the pamphlet, each of the guests was given what looked like a small, bumpy piece of white cardboard in a heart shape. The cardboard was impregnated with wildflower seeds.

Celebrating the man's life in that way was wonderfully appropriate.

I am sorry for your pain, Karen.



Well-Known Member

I think what you are doing is wonderful. It takes a lot of strength. I'm sure your mom is proud as well.

Please let us know how everything goes.