What is a living wake? A guide to a meaningful celebration of life

Published: 27/6/2023
What is a living wake? A guide to a meaningful celebration of life
What is a living wake? A guide to a meaningful celebration of life

A living wake, also known as a celebration of life, is a unique event where you can gather with your loved ones to commemorate your own life before you pass away. This heartfelt gathering allows you to embrace the love and support of your close family and friends while celebrating your accomplishments and the relationships that have enriched your life.   During a living wake the focus is on celebrating life and embracing the present moment. It is a time to let go of regrets and resentments and to cultivate a sense of gratitude and joy.   

You can engage in activities that bring you happiness, whether it's sharing stories, playing games or simply enjoying each other's company. By immersing yourself in the love and support of your family and friends you can find solace and strength as you face the end of your journey.   Below is our guide to understanding a living wake:

Understanding the traditional wake

In traditional practices, a wake occurs after someone has passed away. It serves as an occasion for family and friends to come together, sharing cherished memories and stories of the departed. Usually sombre in tone, a wake provides an opportunity for mutual comfort and grieving while celebrating the life of the person who has passed.

How a living wake differs from a traditional wake

In contrast to a traditional wake, a living wake is a celebration that takes place while you are still alive. It is an opportunity for you to actively participate in the planning and experience ensuring that it reflects your desires and preferences.  

A living wake allows you to hear and witness the love and appreciation your friends and family have for you. It grants you the unique opportunity to share in the stories and memories of your life as seen through their eyes. Moreover, it creates lasting memories for those who will carry on your legacy after you're gone.

What is a living wake? A guide to a meaningful celebration of life
What is a living wake? A guide to a meaningful celebration of life

Choosing the venue

When it comes to hosting a living wake, there are various venue options available. You can opt for event spaces, parks, RSL clubs, restaurants, clubs or community centres. Depending on your budget and personal preferences, a living wake can be a formal or casual affair. Instead of spending a significant amount on an extravagant funeral or wake, you might consider allocating those funds towards a living wake followed by a simpler funeral.  

By choosing a living wake, you have complete control over every aspect of the event, from the guest list to the music and decorations. It's an opportunity to be a part of your own farewell and shape it exactly the way you envision.

Elements of a living wake

A living wake can incorporate various elements commonly found at traditional funerals, such as tributes and eulogies. There are no set rules for how a life should be celebrated, if you have a deep passion for music and dancing, a significant portion of the event could revolve around your favourite songs, perhaps even including some dancing.  

RELATED ARTICLE: How to plan a celebration of life: To do list

A safe and nurturing environment

While a living wake is gaining popularity, it may not be suitable for everyone due to cultural norms and personal preferences surrounding death. However, for many, a living wake provides a safe and heartfelt environment. It's an event where people can openly express their thoughts and feelings before the passing of their loved one. Although such events may evoke profound emotions of fear and sadness, they can also be incredibly warm and uplifting, allowing for the acknowledgement of relationships and the commemoration of one's life story.

What is a living wake? A guide to a meaningful celebration of life
What is a living wake? A guide to a meaningful celebration of life

Embrace the extraordinary 

While a living wake may not be everyone's desire, if you have come to accept your mortality, it can be an extraordinary experience. Seizing the opportunity to celebrate a lifetime of relationships and achievements in the presence of your cherished family and friends can bring deep meaning and serve as a beautiful way to find peace and closure before you pass.  

Embrace the extraordinary and allow yourself to be enveloped in the warmth and love of those who care about you. A living wake is a testament to the impact you have made on the lives of others and a chance for them to express their gratitude and love for you while you are still here to witness it.  

Embrace this extraordinary experience and celebrate your life in the company of those who cherish you.  

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