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Joy

The beautiful thing that happens in Amsterdam if you die and have no one to attend your funeral

The Lonely Funeral project was started by poet Frank Starik, who wrote, "Everyone—and this is the point—every person deserves respect."

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Every life deserves to at least be acknowledged.

Funerals can be many things—a sombre mourning, a celebration of life, a time for family to honor a loved one—but one thing they should never be is unattended.

But the reality is that some people simply don’t have people. Maybe they’re estranged from their family and have outlived all their friends. Maybe they fell into a life of drug addiction and lost all of their close connections. Maybe no next of kin can be found or they just happen to die in a life stage when they have no one around to attend their funeral. Whatever the reason, some people's send-offs from earthly existence are purely legal affairs with no personal touches whatsoever.

Two decades ago, some poets in the Netherlands decided that was an unacceptable ending for a human life. In 2001, a poet named Bart Droog began attending the funerals of people who had no one to attend them and honoring the dead with a poem based on whatever was known about their life. A year later, Dutch poet and artist Frank Starik took the idea even further, launching The Lonely Funeral project to ensure that someone who cares consciously acknowledges the life of a person who has died.

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