Event/Narrative Management Group is an event planning practice dedicated to telling life's stories through events. The work that humbles us the most is family and friends plan and produce memorial occasions. Working with licenced funeral providers, we take a non-traditional approach to celebrating life and memorializing those we have lost.
Planning a fitting celebration or service for a loved one after a devastating loss is hard. While grieving, there are so many details that need to be taken care of. We work in tandem with funeral providers to alleviate that stress.
We also work to create an event that tells the story of the loved one being celebrated. Whether a formal church service with reception to follow, in informal garden party or a wake at the favourite pub, the are no rules on how commemorate our loved ones. We help our clients chose the event that best suits the person being celebrated and the family and friends who need support in their grief.
While we are known for our large scale charity events, David Vallee and his team have been quietly working at producing memorials that matter for 25 years. It is the hardest work we do. It is also the most fufilling.
We can help with pre-event planning. We can also help at the time of death. While we work with all sorts of funeral providers, we work most regularly with Basic Funerals, a virtual funeral provider. The take care of all technical funeral aspects, provide cremation and burial services but because they don't have a funeral home, the are hugely cost effective. The do not up-sell and we work closely with them on the service and event side to provide all of the services seamlessly. They also work throughout southern Ontario, from Windsor to Ottawa with their main operations in Toronto.
Taking a new approach to dealing with death starts with taking. When times are good, talk to your loved ones about your wishes. Writing a will about both your financial details and your instructions about your memorial with a lawyer is essential and something we should do as young adults. Pre-plan with a funeral provider on the physical arrangements. And write up what kind of service, funeral, memorial, event, you would like. It is easier to make these arrangements in good times, rather than after getting bad news.
"One of the most interesting memorials I planned was for a woman who was doing chemo with me 12 years ago," writes David Vallee of E/NMG. "I was in for stage 4 lymphoma, which had a remission rate after five years of around of 85%, she had terminally fatal pancreatic cancer and was only doing chemo so that she was well enough to travel to Scandinavian for a cruise.
"She had made all of the arrangements with her lawyer for a basic cremation etc, she even made it clear what would happen if she died on her trip. She didn't want a church service. She didn't want a funeral home. She wanted a party with lots of flowers (that people should take home, she insisted) some of her favourite music, a few people making tributes, lots of great food and champagne, her favourite drink. Her daughter who was exhaustively supporting her through her battle was great on every front but would not speak a word about what mum wanted after she died.
"So over the course of two chemo's we had together, I wrote up an event proposal, like a would for a wedding. We decided that she would give it to her daughter in an envelope when we completed it. The daughter wasn't very pleased to get it and she wasn't very happy with me. I was invited to the memorial but at that point in my chemo, wasn't well enough to attend.
"But I got the loveliest note afterwards, she was very happy that her mum and I, fellow cancer warriors, had colluded. It was a hard but beautiful day that made these last hard months a little easier to bare.
"I was back at work, still recovering and struggling with a bride with a big ego and small purse. Even though it was sad to think of Margaret, that I only got to know her at the end of her life, it was one of the most gratifying things I had a ever done. The best line was 'it was exactly as mother would have wanted it.' "