PARTIES WITH THE DEARLY DEPARTED
For most of us, death is a time to mourn and shed tears for the departed. For others, it’s a time to honour their loved ones and celebrate the life through services that turn the traditional funeral on its head. US TV is showing a one- hour special, BEST FUNERAL EVER, going inside the Dallas-based Golden Gate Funeral Home where John Beckwith Jr. and his staff organize the most unique ceremonies in the country, called home-going celebrations.
“A home-going is much different than a funeral, it’s a celebration, explains John Beckwith, Jr. The Golden Gate experience is our version of the traditional African American home-going celebration. We do not produce generic funerals; everybody’s experience has to be different.”
No expense is spared as Beckwith and his team creates memories that will last forever. Starting with the deceased’s occupation or passion in life, the Golden Gate staff works with the families to create a central theme for a memorial and then elevates it to an unforgettable party.
BEST FUNERAL EVER features three elaborate home-going services:
• The death of a man who cherished the holiday season is sent off with a Christmas-inspired funeral, complete with reindeer, alpacas, elves and snow.
• A man whose disability prevented him from riding roller coaster is honored with a State-Fair-themed home-going ceremony and spends his last day on earth enjoying the rides, games and attractions.
• A former doo-wop singer known for his famous rib sauce jingle is remembered at a barbecue-themed funeral. His family celebrates his life among live pigs, praise dancers, and a barbecue sauce fountain in which loved ones dip a ceremonious rib to say goodbye.