I went to my own wake

WOMAN'S OWN|July 06, 2020

I went to my own wake
Lin Dalton, 63, was determined not to miss out on the chance to celebrate the end of her life
EIMEAR O'HAGAN

It was my daughter, Laura, who chose my outfit for my wake. I described to her a dress I’d owned years ago and loved. After just a few taps on her phone, she found something remarkably similar – I couldn’t believe it. Shopping for something to wear to your own wake may not be a very typical mother-and-daughter activity. But Laura and I have learnt to cherish every experience.

We both know there will be moments we won’t get to share. I’ll never help her choose a wedding dress, celebrate her 40th birthday or hold her children in my arms. However, when you know your time is running out, everything takes on a special meaning. And when I look back on my life, my wake is certainly one of those unforgettable moments.

I stopped treatment for cancer in February this year. The same month, I threw a party to bring together everyone I love so they could remember me in a positive way. People who say they don’t want a fuss when they die… well, that’s not me! As my mind turned to the end of my life, I realised I shouldn’t miss out on the chance to celebrate it. I didn’t want a sombre affair, I wanted to go out with a bang and for people to look back on what a brilliant night we had.

Eighty-five family and friends came together for an evening of dancing and drinking. I booked a singer, a friend paid for a professional photographer as a gift, and there was lots of reminiscing. It was all very upbeat – I didn’t want people sitting around feeling sad.

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July 06, 2020