What is an end of life ceremony?

End of life ceremonies can take place when someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, shortly before or after they die, or even years later. There's no time limit on when you can create an end of life ceremony or how often you hold them. It can accompany or replace a more traditional funeral, and it can help those left behind carry on a legacy.

Why are end of life ceremonies important?

Creating an end of life ceremony is a deeply personal expression. It can be a way for the person dying to have some control over how they spend their remaining days, how they die, and what legacy they leave behind. It's also a way to bring people together who are united in their grief by giving them a way to express and share their emotions.

How do you create an end of life ceremony?

When creating an end of life ceremony, invite the person dying into the process if it's an option. Ask them what stood out in their life and what they want to be remembered for. If they've already died, find a way to bring their stories and values into the ceremony so that it feels like a personal reflection and celebration of who they were and how they lived.

End of life inspiration

Preparing for death and grieving the loss of a loved one deserves careful consideration. For tools on how to create an end of life ceremony, sign up for our newsletter below and we’ll send you detailed ceremonies and stories from other people in our community. 

Death of a pet

When a pet dies, it can be hard for everyone involved, especially children. Using ceremony to honour your connection with your pet, the life they lived, and how they impacted your world can be healing and helpful.

Story circle

Coming together in circle provides a space for healing and for words to be shared in memory of a loved one. A chair can be placed in the circle to represent the person who has died, or candles can be lit to represent the life that was lost.


When someone dies, there's often a desire to create a legacy to remember them by. Our belief is the simpler the better, and so we recommend writing down some words or phrases that capture how they made you feel.