“It was one of the most touching moments of my life and I believe many people’s lives who attended that day,” says Christine Rushworth, who catered the event as part of alaVida.ca, the event company specialized in the funeral business. Edda had battled cancer for two years and although weak and on many debilitating drugs, her last wish was for a champagne party with Vienna Waltz music surrounded by her closest friends and family.
The event, although at times teary-eyed, was by far the best thing I could have done for her and those who loved her most. Not only did everyone have personal time to really be with her one-on-one, they also appreciated the opportunity to celebrate her final moments. They weren’t disappointed when she raised a glass to toast asking everyone not to be sad but rather to remember her as she was in her happiest days. Above all, she wanted people to remember to enjoy the opera, waltz and the ballet and to remember how she loved those things and enjoyed them over the years with those who were close to her
Over the years since her passing (which turned out to be 10 days after her goodbye event), I heard from her friends and distant relatives say how grateful they were to have had that final “joyous” time together. They cherished the moments in their memories and listened to the playlist whenever they thought of her. They adored the afternoon champagne and Austrian-inspired cake they ate with her one last time. It was a privilege that didn’t go unnoticed. They often thought about how lucky they were to have shared her last dance and toast. While she thanked me over and over for such a special occasion and how much loved she felt, she suggested that others deserved this kind of send off.
Looking back, I realize that we could all use a little celebration before we leave this life. Having organized my mom’s final goodbye event with the help of alaVida.ca, I was able to be present and not have to worry about the many details that went into organizing the intimate, customized event.
“There’s no such thing as a small event,” said my event coordinator. “As much organization goes in to an event for 50 as 100; just more rentals and food.” But the reassurance and peace of mind that I had was worth every penny. I was able to make my mom smile, enjoy herself, and leave feeling tremendous love, and I never had to leave her side. Her family and friends who gathered had a joyous time with her individually and together, were entertained as only she would have entertained them and they benefited so much from the closure.