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Workshop: Plan your funeral playlist first

Dr Annetta Mallon
Background and aims:
Funeral planning is something that far too many of us neglect to undertake, leaving our friends and family to determine what style of send-off we are given. There is a misperception among many community members that a funeral must be sombre, short, lacking in personality or humour, and run according to funeral business dictates. This workshop will allow participants to re-frame how they think about their own funerals, facilitated by a novel and creative approach to planning: begin with the music first. Participants in this workshop will be given the opportunity to plan their own funeral as completely as they like (or to at least map out their preferences for later refinement) in a supportive, inclusive, and non-judgemental environment where everyone will be encouraged to prioritise what their own preferences are in terms of reflecting their lives and passions.

Participants will be given notepads, pens, large pads of paper and coloured markers. During the course of this workshop favourite/beloved songs of any style (or singers) will be identified and participants encouraged to incorporate the songs as the workshop moves through a variety of aspects for the funeral itself – location, timeframe, order of service, etc.

Learning Outcomes:
Participants will learn that planning a funeral can be fun, thought-provoking, representative of their authentic lives and selves, and a process that does not need to be scary or confronting. Hopefully, too, participants will

The take-home messages include gaining a death literacy understanding of how normal funeral planning can be for everyone – at the individual, couple, and family/friend network levels – and how to talk about funeral planning in a matter-of-fact manner. This is useful when friends/family receive terminal diagnoses, and helps facilitate planning in other end of life areas.