Leaving on a high note
Aretha Franklin’s flashy funeral has breathed new life into the funeral business. The singer, who died in August of 2018, received a send-off worthy of the Queen of Soul. Of course, few of us will make our final journey accompanied by 100 pink Cadillacs or wear a selection of cocktail dresses in our coffin. Yet American funeral directors say that Aretha’s funeral was inspiring. “Hopefully this gets people thinking about their own service a little more,” funeral-planning director Cassidy Iwersen told the Financial Times.
“We’re all ex-wedding-industry people,” explains Erin Furey, cofounder with Iwersen of Going Out in Style. The firm asks potential clients to fill out a questionnaire, answering questions such as whether they would like to have their funeral take place on a boat, or whether invitations should be sent via social media. Other suggestions involve turning the deceased’s ashes into a diamond or giving funeral guests a printed magazine about the dear departed.
The funeral industry is worth an estimated $16 billion (€14 billion). Baby boomers especially are willing to pay for individually designed funerals. Meanwhile, Furey says that funerals deserve at least as much preparation as weddings do. “It’s a day you can’t do again,” she comments. “You never get a second chance to make a last impression.”
Stylish to the end: Aretha Franklin