An old neighbor of mine moved away about a year ago because she had ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease). She and her husband moved to a location better suited for the care she would inevitably need.

In the last few months, she had planned a service for herself at her old church for this past weekend. I had never heard of this before, but she essentially planned her own funeral. It was a gathering of old friends to celebrate her life… with her.

This is an idea I’ve been toying with for the past three or four years. I’m very intrigued by the idea of having a pre-funeral.

One of the most common regrets is wishing you could say a few things to people that, once they’re gone, you never get to say. Less discussed, but equally important (if not more), is the idea of appreciating people while they’re still here.

People generally don’t appreciate others, the things around them, or even themselves, as often as they could. And a pre-funeral would be the perfect place for it.

And consider all of the self-doubt that plagues each and every one of us, from time to time. People can say things to you. And you can see signs. But everyone, at some point, suffers from a little disbelief. Are you really being a good person? Do people really value having you around? Are you liked?

A pre-funeral addresses all of this. It’s a celebration of your life… that you get to witness.

The idea of attending your own funeral is not new. In fact, it’s so common that I wonder if it just shouldn’t be as normal an event as a 50th anniversary or a milestone birthday.

Because you never know what can happen…

In this case, my neighbor sadly passed away the day before the event. So all of those people who were looking forward to sharing their thoughts and appreciation with her were left with a normal funeral gathering and minds full of thoughts and memories they’ll never be able to share with the her.