Book review: “It’s Your Funeral”

How do you say “goodbye”?

How can you let go, knowing that it’s the last time, the last moment, that the laughs you shared, the meals, the trips are over? How do you take your leave, and leave behind nothing but good memories? You read “It’s Your Funeral!” by Kathy Benjamin, that’s how, and you go with a nudge, a wink, and some awesome tunes.

You’ll never get out of this world alive.

Kathy Benjamin thinks we all need to remember that. She’s going to die, you’re going to die, everyone in the past who ever drew a breath has died, full stop. So, because you have no choice in this matter, you might as well make your final farewell as personal as possible.

Most people who’ve gone before you have had ground burials, but today’s decedents have choices, says Benjamin. Ground burials are not the most earth-friendly actions you can take and, most surprisingly, neither is cremation – although, if you decide on cremation, there “creative” things that can be done with your dead self.

Otherwise, you might choose a natural burial, or composting. You could become food for trees and plants, or you could be made into “sludge.” Burial at sea might be an option, or go out with a bang, become bling, or be “buried” in space. If you’re really science-minded, you could be plastinated, or you could donate your body to a medical facility or a “body farm.” Check local laws before going wild.

As for your funeral, Benjamin touches upon the various religious services you can have, and ideas for venues. Imagine your funeral at your favorite bar, or at a bowling alley. Give out goodie bags, ask friends to sign your casket, and choose funeral tunes that mean something to you in life. Write your own obituary and be sure to give your digital passwords to your loved ones. Then leave a legacy, a bench with your name on it, a park, or a brick at a stadium. You might be gone, but you won’t be forgotten…

By now, you already know that “It’s Your Funeral!” isn’t your usual funeral planner. Nope, this planner is made for the person who cha-cha’d through life, catching every adventure, looking for the next party, and who doesn’t want to go until Last Call is announced. 

Though the subject is normally quite morose, author Kathy Benjamin puts the fun in funerals by making readers chuckle, kind of in a shoulder-nudging way that lets us know it’s okay if we don’t necessarily want crying beside our crypts. In addition to helping with the tiniest details in our personalized send-offs, Benjamin writes about other things that you may wonder about: grave-robbing, building your own coffin, what items lie in celebrity graves, jazz funerals, and how to ask a famous singer to perform at your send-off.

That makes this something you can read even when you’re not planning on going anywhere soon. If you’re dying for a unique book, in fact, grab “It’s Your Funeral” and say hello!

“It’s Your Funeral! Plan the Celebration of a Lifetime – Before It’s Too Late” by Kathy Benjamin

c.2021, Quirk Books $16.99 / $22.99 Canada 176 pages

Author Kathy Benjamin