Martian seeks insight into American grieving customs - help me plan this life celebration
July 18, 2011 3:41 PM Subscribe
Could use some suggestions for making sure I have all bases covered for the "celebration of life" thing we're doing for my dad this weekend.
posted by jessamyn to society & culture (30 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My father died a few months ago as many of you may know. We did a small private graveside ceremony at the time and told people we'd be doing a larger more public celebration of his life later in the year. That is coming up this weekend. My sister and I are planning it and while I think the planning is going fine, I'd love to hear suggestions or things you maybe learned if you've planned one of these or attended one.
The event was sort of our idea because my dad was a bit of a public persona at one time. People seemed to want this to happen, though I could take it or leave it and am now dreading it. We're expecting 50-60 people. It's an afternoon event put on by my me and my sister and my dad's sister with support from our boyfriends. We've got tables and chairs and food and drink and flowers and music and photos planned, a few computers around the place running slideshows. A place for people to record memories if it looks like that would be appreciated. The event will take place at his house and I think people will enjoy poking around there, especially if they haven't been there before. One of his old friends is going to give a bit of a speech and maybe some other people will as well. I don't plan to say anything public except "Thank you for coming." I think the bulk of the guests will be in their 60s and 70s so I'll circulate and try to talk to everyone. There are a lot of people there I'm looking forward to seeing.
I'm doing okay and I'm comfortable with the "Everyone grieves in their own way" maxim, but I am not totally comfortable with other people's emotions and especially the "Your dad was such an awesome guy!" stuff since he was an interesting and charismatic man and sort of a lousy dad, though we were friendly and got along fine. I'm a litle nervous about dealing with unresolved drama from the people in his past (there has been some of that from his ex-wife that has been unpleasant) or just stories that I don't want to hear. I have some polite scripts in my head for dealing with this sort of stuff [and an awesome sister who is terrific at running defense for this sort of thing] but if people have more of them, that might help me.
So, if you've done one of these or attended a good one, what worked? If you have gone to one where things went wrong, what could be done better next time? Thanks very much.