• – By Suzanne Soto-Davies

Celebrate yourself


A series of unfortunate events have circled our family over the past three months. Injuries, accidents, illnesses, and one very painful death in the family.

She was diagnosed with cancer and passed away six weeks later. It was probably one of the most painful things our family has even gone through, and we needed somehow how unite – to come together and remember her the way she had requested: A ‘Celebration of Life’. She wanted her family together, she wanted her life to be celebrated – not her passing.

It’s never easy to talk about the passing of a loved one, but this is not a sad write up, because this occasion was the most beautiful family gathering I think I’ve EVER experienced – so much so, that I had to share it.

Our home was decorated with the paintings she had done through the years; the crafts she created for family occasions; the sculptures she designed for friends and family... some of her favourite songs played, her favourite foods displayed, flowers everywhere. It was truly breathtaking!

We exchanged memories, tears, and laughter, and we danced together – the room was filled with her presence and beautiful memories. Her son played the violin, her nieces sang, we prayed together and did a toast. All in the name of her love.

There is a stigma with the topic of death: Don’t think about it, don’t plan it, don’t even talk about it! This experience made me realize that there is nothing wrong with the discussion and how planning an event such as this one, actually brings people together in healing.

One day at a time, of course, and celebrating one’s life in such a powerful way, has such healing way about it that it makes it more bearable to lean on each others’ shoulders. It’s about gathering everyone’s memories and sharing them.

How would you like to be remembered? For her, I know we will all remember her through our moments with her, her life’s experiences and through this last moment we gathered together as a family, in her name. We celebrated her, and those were her wishes.•

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