"Fare thee well" some day I'll say
When my moments on earth have withered away.
Let me depart in a blaze of glory,
Amid hallmark hues of my distinctive life story.
Forsake monotony and standardized drear,
Let variegation bring a measure of cheer.
I want not like a barren branch to be,
Weathered, yet unremarkable to see.
Rather, like a lovely leaf I shall fall,
Pronounced by vivid color as I drift from it all.
May others my brilliance at the end behold,
So remnants of my being will still unfold.
Though gone from roots and the family tree
I'll be embedded forever in memory.
PERSONALIZED TALE ENDINGS
Management of life's final transition and celebration of the individual through mindfully
pre-selected funerary applications that reflect special personal features.
Diversion from standard protocols that don't allow for variations and alternative
approaches, while retaining significant religious, ethnic, or cultural elements.
Preliminary documentation and/or verbal notification of either preferences or definitive
arrangements provide life companions with a guide when the time comes to implement
EXPLORE OPTIONS WITHIN CATEGORIES
FORM OF DISPOSITION... cremation, burial, entombment, alkaline hydrolysis, promession,
donation of physical remains for transplants, scientific research, medical or forensic
education, or preservation in some form...
A convertible casket (perhaps a bookcase until needed for its funerary purpose)... A
biodegradable cardboard box, decorated by family and friends prior to burial...
A build-your-own kit...
THE FUNERARY WORLD IS ALIVE WITH POTENTIAL!
Find your true colors... the hues of final arrangement preferences with tints
that accent the nuances of your particular style and manner.
HOW SHOULD CHOICES AND PREFERENCES BE MADE KNOWN?
Compose the concluding passage for your distinctive life story!
The formula for this type of "epilogue"...
Thinking, Deciding, Recording, Informing, Storing + Revising =
A Heavenly Ending!
Follow these steps now, and then later,
DEPART AS SINGULARLY AS A FALLEN AUTUMN LEAF
Colorful End-of-Life Pre-planning
HOW DOES ONE BEGIN THE PROCESS OF PERSONALIZED PRE-PLANNING?
BEAUTEOUS AS A FALLEN LEAF
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF CUSTOMIZED PRE-PLANNING?
WHY BOTHER? WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE... WHETHER
CIRCUMSTANCES AND PROCEEDINGS ARE TAILORED OR MANAGED
ACCORDING TO THE USUAL GENERIC OPERATIONS? AND WHY NOT WAIT UNTIL
"TIME OF NEED" WHEN RELATIVES TYPICALLY HANDLE THESE MATTERS?
WHAT IF THERE'S NO INTEREST IN SPENDING MONEY FOR PRE-ARRANGEMENTS?
There is no need to pay for anything ahead of time, though some people do. Many, however,
have been advised against pre-payment. What matters more is the determination of
preferences, wishes, and declarations of choices. What matters most is the communication
of them in some form to life companions.
Think about your self... the characteristics, relationships, and activities that define your life.
Consider your own perceptions of signature earmarks coupled with observations of others.
Contemplate recognizable associations and symbols, distinctive personality traits, primary
preoccupations... vocational roles, special interests or hobbies, travel destinations, and
membership in organizations, along with cultural or religious ties, special experiences and
fond recollections, endearing moments with family and friends, favorites of all kinds, greatest
achievements, as well as elements of life that are most meaningful and really important to
HOW CAN THIS TYPE OF EVENT PLANNING BE ENJOYABLE?
It's like playing games and going on window-shopping sprees, but without needing to pay
anything! After identifying features of your life that you would like to have accentuated at the
end of it, a virtual scavenger hunt is the next step.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF CAPTIVATING POSSIBILITIES?
A WIDE SPECTRUM of modes pertaining to sites, practices, participatory activities,
products, designs, and colors can be adopted to accentuate individuality.
Explore websites and local funerary businesses, strike up conversations with people who
have used facilities and retailers, visit sites, read literature, and be amazed by the available
choices. Stay on the lookout for products and services that strike a chord personally.
Times have changed. Opportunities and options abound, thanks to our culture's
manufacturing mania with diverse products, technological advances, innovative concepts,
and novel approaches. Stimulating colors and ideas render applications that can be
engineered to stimulate permanent memories.
After gleaning an awareness of possibilities, you can get a kick out of playing a matching
game. Connect the dots... select funerary channels that would highlight or align with personal
values or significant elements of your life while envisioning their effect on family and friends.
PROVIDERS... a funeral home, budget facilities, crematory, caretakers in a home
COMMEMORATIVE EVENTS... visitation or viewing, gravesite committal service, funeral or
memorial service, social reception, informal gathering in a special place...
SPECIFIC PROVISIONS... type of vehicular transport, embalming, concierge services...
FINAL REPOSE... a cemetery, mausoleum, columbarium, natural burial modes, a land,
aquatic, or aerial scattering location, embedding of cremated remains in one or more of
many innovative cremation products...
MERCHANDISE... a casket, coffin, urn, liner or vault, headstone, grave marker, or alternative
EXPENSES... anticipation of costs, funding, decision regarding pre-payment, economical
PERSONAL COMMEMORATIONS... types and locations of events, items and means for
memorial displays, obituary data, eulogy presenters, rituals, practices, performances or
presentations, favorite musical selections, requests for attire of guests and self, color
schemes, species of flowers, unique elements...
GIFTS... symbolic remembrance items - manufactured or household leftovers, bequeathals
of value, funding for special projects, organizations, or community events...
COMMUNICATION... memorable life experiences, words of wisdom via an ethical will...
A stage-like set at a funeral home with representative personal items displayed, either with or
without the casket as a centerpiece... A harpist or other instrumentalist at a wake... A
personally handmade quilt draped over a casket... An extensive display of a deceased
artist's works... Distribution of decorative papers for guests to write a message and place
inside the casket...
A memorial service on a tour boat, in a library, on home turf, around a campfire in the woods,
at sunrise or sunset... Guests wearing a designated color or style mimicking that of the
decedent... A church bell rung for the number of years lived... A beloved lullaby sung at the
close of a commemorative observance... A vase in an open suitcase to recognize travel
history... A flower arrangement or plant alluding to decedent's name, such as Fern, Lily,
Daisy... Guests gathered in a circle as a service ends, holding hands in unity... A plane
overhead, dragging an aerial banner declaring name, birth, and death dates during a
graveside service... Members of a pivotal organization in life serving as pallbearers... Young
family members passing out programs...
A motorcycle procession with the casket in a sidecar... A casket on a tractor or other vehicle
of significance operated by a family member... A horse-drawn caisson... A bicycle hearse...
Burial in a natural cemetery wearing a handmade shroud in a grave dug by family members...
A headstone with a colorful glass design embedded in it... or designed as a crossword
puzzle... A device attached to a memorial stone allowing visitors to access information about
the decedent on their cell phones...
A favorite cookie jar utilized as an urn... In a college campus columbarium... A portion
packed into a capsule attached to a rocket for a space voyage, in shotgun cartridges for
hunting escapades, inside a large balloon, integrated into concrete within a memorial reef
structure, incorporated into a fireworks display, or scattered by a specialty business...
Elements used to create a real diamond or introduced into one of many forms of costume
jewelry... or implanted in the handle of a tennis racket... or in a handcrafted teddy bear made
from swatches of the decedent's clothing... Mixed into paint for a special work of art...
A personalized website with biographical information, music, and photos... A medallion or
imprint with a QR code on a memorial object... A self-videotaped piece for use at an event...
Internet streaming to accommodate distant viewers...
A themed dinner reception with relevant "life echo" items as centerpieces on tables... Name
tags decorated with personal identity symbols, noting guest's relation to the decedent... A
barbershop quartet at a reception singing tunes that had been the individual's favorites... A
chicken barbeque outdoors in recognition of a decedent's familiar form of entertaining...
One's collection of jewelry distributed among guests... Personally constructed birdhouses
for bird-watching companions during life... Boxes of alphabet soup as mementos at a
journalist's reception... A memorial rock bearing one's own words of wisdom in a home
garden... A new piece of music commissioned by a decedent... A fund tagged for
continuance of family vacations...
Establish a file specifically for end-of-life plans, assuring accessibility and
awareness of companions:
Use supplemental forms of communication:
...A notebook in a desk drawer, a manila folder, or an attractive photo box for notes as well as
items - CDs with favorite music, pictures, business cards from preferred retailers, objects of
significance, relevant reading material, selected verses, poems, and the like to be read at
...One of many computerized funerary record-keeping sites, with appointment of particular
people who would have access to it after one's death
...Standard forms via funeral planning books, Internet resources, booklets, and organizations
that endorse pre-planning
...A record kept at a chosen funeral home
...Verbal documentation through audio or videotaping
...Conversations with family members
Maintain a fluid record, revisited periodically and revised according to changes in outlooks
As diverse creations, lives and leaves are
recognized by their distinguishing
characteristics. Each is defined in some way
that renders individuality. Both have features
that separate them from one another within
their species. But at life's end, it is the
leaves that have been most apt to make an
exquisite final impression.
Let us be more like leaves, capturing the
attention of onlookers. Let us inspire our life
companions through special experiences
that will enrich them with indelible
recollections of their associations with us.
Let the concluding synopses of our life
stories mirror our distinctions. Let them be
bold and beautiful. Let us leave in splendor.
Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the need to make decisions while experiencing the
incalculable distress of grief, they will have a sense of direction.
Customized funerary proceedings that reflect an individual's personality and tendencies
leave mourners with unique memories that help them maintain a mental connection with the
By delving into pre-planning, one gains a measure of command over the inevitable end
phase of life that is ordinarily shunned and feared.
The pleasure of event planning is attainable even in regard to end-of-life affairs. One can get
a sneak peek into probable scenarios, thereby yielding a sense of "closure contentment."
By bringing death out of the closet and uninhibitedly addressing matters forsaken by many in
our society, one becomes part of a community of mavericks with the potential to invoke