The Last Bash

Tim Falconer notices that more and more of his friends are "orchestrating their own farewells":

One friend arranged everything: the place (a suburban golf club where she’d hosted several successful breast cancer fundraisers), the time (Friday after work), the speakers, the musicians. I know she would have been thrilled if she’d been able to make it.

As we seek to transform a traditional, and routine, ritual into something a little more personal, funeral directors are scrambling to keep up. Suzanne Scott, executive director of the Funeral Services Association of Canada, says her members are offering video streaming for out-of-towners, adding reception areas and even seeking liquor licences. A home in Saskatchewan now offers a bed for the dead instead of a casket. Mostly, though, they’re responding to families and friends who are dreaming up their own twists. The funeral procession for a Tim Hortons habitué, for example, included a coffee run at a drive-thru.