A Living Memorial Celebration is similar to a funeral, but honors someone while they are still alive. It's the brainchild of Steve Flores, Assistant Manager at Mountain View Mortuary in Reno. He says he often meets families that have regrets over things left unsaid and unsettled. According to Flores, this is a new opportunity to give loved ones of the terminally ill closure.
While he has helped my people through the difficult time of losing a loved one during his career, Flores had never thought about his own funeral. Then earlier this year he was diagnosed with liver cancer. Thoughts of how his family and friends would react to his death kept him up at night with worry. Then he realized he was in a unique position to do something different. He could hold a memorial while he was still well enough to mend fences with people he had wronged, and tell them he loved them. He would call it a "Living Memorial". When he took the idea to his boss, she was onboard.
Flores says the ceremony is similar to a funeral, with formal remarks, video and music presentations. That portion is followed by a festive gathering in another area of the mortuary. The goal is to give family and friends a chance to speak directly to their loved one and know their words have been heard. Flores says this also gives the person who is experiencing the illness the chance to make decisions about the ceremony, rather than putting pressure on grieving family members.
Steve Flores is scheduled to have a liver transplant in November. His will be the Mortuary's first Living Memorial Celebration taking place Saturday, October 13th at 1:00PM. The event will be open to the public, and anyone who is curious about the ceremony is welcome to drop in.