Jodi Hale Fonfa
Renee, Jodi, Mama Hale, Haley
When my mother, Mama Eileen Hale, passed, my sister Jodi and I were devastated. Like most people, we didn’t know what to do first. Mama had always said she never wanted a funeral; she preferred the idea of a party - with music, dancing, laughing, stories, and fun. Of course we wanted to fulfill her wishes.
I’m Renee, and for more than 30 years, I’ve been a corporate event planner, though recently, I’m enjoying a return to my roots as a Las Vegas entertainer as well. Mama loved to accompany me to the clubs to hear me and our friends sing along with her favorite bands. Jodi is a married mother of three, award winning fitness professional for 30 years and executive director for the Ms. Nevada Scholarship Organization. Mama raised us to be strong, independent women, so of course we had completely different ideas about how to proceed.
I thought we should hold mama’s "party” at a club and Jodi thought her home would the perfect spot. We compromised. We created the perfect, intimate setting by creating a “club” atmosphere in Jodi’s home. The one thing we completely agreed upon was that mama would have loved the setting, as much as the fact that my sister and I were able to come together in such a collaborative way.
The event was incredible. Guests were greeted with mimosas upon arrival. The entryway was filled with posters, each featuring pictures from different chapters in mama’s life. We had her favorite band, served her favorite foods, and our friends sang all the songs she adored. Everyone loved it! We enjoyed music, laughs, stories, and a few tears throughout the celebration.
It was such an amazing event that everyone asked if we could do the same for them or their parents. As mama's final gift to us, “CREATIVE LIFE CELEBRATIONS” was born. May her compassion, warmth & legacy live on!
What is an end of life celebration?
While it may seem overwhelming, the process for planning is streamlined. Taking control of your list not only reduces stress, but it is also the right thing to do for you and your family.
Here’s what to do to get started:
- Prepare a contact list of individuals who should be notified in the event of a medical emergency or death.
- Write an obituary or simply jot down information that you would like to include in an obituary.
- Decide where obituary and memorial information should appear.
- Choose the type of service you would like including the type of burial you prefer, and make those arrangements.
- Arrange and delegate a few trustworthy, reliable individuals who know and care about you or your loved one so that you can relax, knowing that you're in good hands. You should only need to provide them with instructions and important financial details.
- Be sure there is money allocated from the estate to cover costs.
- If this is your celebration, consider how your wishes affect others.
THREE QUESTIONS FOR CREATIVE PLANNING
1) WHAT ARE YOUR /THEIR WISHES ….?
- Consider the place…LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION - Is there a place of worship, a park, restaurant or vacation spot important to the person being memorialized?
- FOOD AND DRINK - Favorite foods? - Are there any important memories of traditions from childhood or family heritage? - Any recipes that you or your loved one are known for?
- MUSIC - Music will set the mood. What is the favorite genre? - Are there any desired songs from a specific era, religious tradition, theme or region?
2) HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED?
- Think about you or your loved one’s greatest acts of kindness, courage, ingenuity, or adventure? Think of any special club or organizational memberships that should be mentioned. - What schools were attended? Would the celebrated person like to continue to be associated with those schools in memoriam? - Did you or your loved one like to travel? What profession is associated with you or your loved one? Think of any awards within you or your loved one’s profession, associations, or hobbies. - Is there a story, quotation or poem that would be associated with you or your loved one?
- LIVING LEGACIES There are other ways to be remembered after the service and reception are over. Living legacies such as plaques and park benches are becoming more and more common. Annual athletic events or scholarship awards can also be meaningful ways to be remembered.
3) WHAT BEST SYMBOLIZES WHO YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONE IS?
- Is there a symbol that represents the character or name of the person being celebrated? - Do you or your loved one identify with an astrological sign? - Is there a pet people associate with you or your loved one? - Is there a logo for the business, hobby or organization? - Think about you or your loved one’s favorite time of day. Sunrise or sunset?
- THEME - Do any specific themes resonate with you? - Is the celebrated person a movie buff or “Hollywood glamour,” or a Country Western fan?
- COLOR - Were you or your loved one known for any specific color? - What color themes best reflect you or your loved one?
- FLOWERS, FRAGRANCE, FAUNA - Think of a favorite flower (or flowers.) - Do you know the meaning of the flower? - Is there a special fragrance that would make people think of you or your loved one?
- CLOTHING - Were you or your loved one known for a special style?
- WRITE DOWN YOUR WISHES - Once you’ve considered your many options, start filling out your pre-planning form and working with our CREATIVE LIFE CELEBRATIONS team.
FAITH MOORE -Faith Moore & Assoc.
RANDI GARRETT Zeitchick – Naakiti Floral
MARY ANN REILLY – M.A. Special Events
MAMA HALE - Master in Warmth, Compassion & Love