Members only – a ‘pre-transitional’ party

Maurice Pepper

Maurice Pepper

Maurice Pepper held a long-anticipated ‘pre-transitional’ party to celebrate life.

Yes, it is pre-transitional as in transitioning from life to death. No, he’s not ill. He is actually in good health.

Of course, the question was asked, “Why not just have a party?”

When a loved one passes and family and friends gather, there is a time that they get together and speak about the memories of the deceased. Although, they are in great sorrow for their loss, the gathering is a lot like a family reunion. Often it is the only time that family and friends get together as they greet those they have not seen for many years. Childhood friends, classmates, family moving to other cities and new friends alike all gather in the same place to celebrate the life of the individual who has now transitioned from life on earth.

Mr. Pepper has talked about how he wanted his transitional celebration to be when he passed away. He shared his desires with friends and family over the course of several years. One day, while sharing his desires with his daughter, she told him: “Dad, everybody is getting older. Why don’t you just have a party before everybody that you want to share it with is gone. And you can enjoy the party too.”

As he thought that was a good idea, he began to plan his ‘pre-transitional’ party.

Pepper’s pre-transitional party was held at the Ivy Center in early June. With the help of Geraldine Heath, owner of Tea Cups & Jewels, Pepper had a great presence representing all the things in his life through the unique table centerpieces. It was his life’s story on each table. Geraldine obtained souvenirs that Pepper provided from all around the world through his travels, and she shopped around for weeks gathering small items that were representative of his life. He traveled through his career with the United States Postal Service and for his leisure. In addition to the tabletop stories, he opened with his favorite song, the theme for his party, singing ‘Members Only.’

From his opening theme song, a slide presentation was narrated as it showed many pictures sharing his life’s journey with family, friends and co-workers.

Some arrived to the party not knowing what to expect. But they found it to be interesting. People were allowed to come and share their thoughts and association with the guest of honor.

“It’s one way to hear what people think of you before you die,” said one in attendance.

Following the presentation and sharing, guests had dinner and dancing.