One in five Britons celebrate the life of a loved one before they die
Funeral plan specialist, Perfect Choice, recently conducted research to discover how many, if any people in the UK celebrated their life before their death. The survey revealed that a fifth of Britons have attended a ‘life celebration’ for a dying loved one before their death, with nearly three quarters of these suggested by the deceased themselves. The majority of these are organised in part by the dying loved one and take place in a communal venue, such as a village hall, followed by a favourite place or a medical facility.
The study polled 1,886 British adults, all of whom were aged 18 or over and there was an even gender split. In order to be eligible for the survey, all participants were required to have lost a terminally ill or elderly relative within the past 12 months.
Initially, we asked our participants whether there had been a ‘life celebration’ prior to their relative’s death, we described this as an event in which loved ones of the dying person gathered together with them in order to celebrate their life. A fifth (21%) of those asked stated that they had attended such an event prior to the death of their loved one.
We then asked the same group of people where the ‘life celebration’ had been held. Respondents were able to select all answers that were applicable to the event they had attended, which revealed the below top 5:
1) Communal venue (e.g. village hall or social club etc) – 42%
2) Favourite place of the deceased’s (e.g. sports ground or memorable venue etc) - 38%
3) Medical facility – 31%
4) Private home – 25%
5) Function venue (e.g. restaurant, bar etc) – 16%
In order to delve deeper into the results, we then asked the same respondents whose idea the event had been. The majority (74%) stated that it had been suggested by the deceased, 9% said that the event was suggested by the deceased’s spouse and 4% of the events were suggested by a child of the deceased. We also found out that almost a quarter (24%) of life celebrations were organised entirely by the deceased.
Finally, we asked relevant respondents how many people had attended their loved one’s celebration, revealing an average of 25 attendees. The highest answer provided was 250.
It’s great that so many people are getting the chance to celebrate their life with their loved ones, transforming the traditional funeral into an opportunity to rejoice and be thankful for all the wonderful times and memories people have shared. In other cultures, it is more usual for a funeral to be a happy, joyous occasion, so this is not as strange as it may first seem for us Brits!
Funerals and life celebrations should be as unique as the loved one you are saying goodbye to. It’s lovely to see that people are getting a say in how they would like to be remembered. If this is with joy and happiness, it can make it easier for some people to grieve and come to terms with their loss. It really does depend on the person, but this trend is certainly a positive one.