A living wake is also commonly referred to as a life celebration. This type of event is for anyone who wishes to take part in a celebration of their own life with their close family and friends, before they pass.
What is a traditional wake?
Traditionally, a conventional wake only occurs once someone has passed. It provides an opportunity to share memories and stories of the dearly departed. A wake is often a celebration of a person's life, and an opportunity for family and friends to comfort each other in grief. Food and beverages are usually served and the tone is often quite sombre.
How is a living wake different from a traditional wake?
In contrast, a living wake celebrates a loved one’s achievements as they are reaching the end of their life. One benefit of a living wake is that it provides the guest of honour the opportunity to have input into the celebration, so they can be celebrated just the way they desire.
A living wake also enables friends and family to show their loved one how they feel about them and what their relationship means to them, while they are still alive to hear it. For some, it’s particularly meaningful that the guest of honour can appreciate the stories and memories of years passed, from the perspective of family and friends.
Last but not least, a living wake is also a beautiful opportunity to create new memories for those who will be left behind.
Where to host a living wake?
Similar to a traditional wake or memorial service, a living wake can be conducted from a broad range of venues including event spaces, parks, RSL clubs, restaurants, clubs or community centres.
Depending on the available budget, you can make it as formal or as casual as you would like. Given the deceased never gets an opportunity to enjoy the expense spent on a lavish funeral or wake, you might choose to designate funeral funds towards a living wake and then host a less expensive funeral.
By opting for a living wake, the guest of honour can control each element of the function from the guest list to the music and decorations. If you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall at your own funeral, this is the perfect opportunity to take control of your send off.
What happens at a living wake?
Living wakes can include a number of elements commonly found at a traditional funeral, like tributes and eulogies. As there are no set rules on how a life should be celebrated and subsequently how a living wake should be conducted, it's best to ask the guest of honour for inspiration. Do they love music and dancing? If so, a large component of the function could be dedicated towards their favourite songs and perhaps even dancing.
A safe space
Despite increasing in popularity, Western culture’s predisposition to steer away from death means a living wake is not going to be for everyone. However, oftentimes a living wake is a warm and heartfelt environment, and a safe forum for people to formally say things they need or want to before the passing of their loved one. Although such events are likely to evoke deep feelings of fear and sadness, they can also be an incredibly warm and uplifting way to acknowledge relationships and commemorate the story of someone’s life.
Whilst it might not be everybody’s wish, if you find that you are able to accept your mortality, then a living wake can be a truly extraordinary experience. Taking the opportunity to celebrate a lifetime’s relationships and achievements in the presence of family and friends can be a truly meaningful experience, and a lovely way to gain peace and closure before you pass.
If you'd like to plan for your future, our team of dedicated funeral arrangers can assist you to prepay your funeral, giving you and your loved ones peace of mind for when the time comes.