Dozens of people turned out for Barbara Dorris’ party at Nashville’s Centennial Park. And although there were balloons and a cake, the celebration was far from ordinary.
Dorris, a local singer/songwriter and mother of three, began planning her “FUN-eral” not long after she found out she had an inoperable tumor in her abdomen. That was nearly six months ago. “I went into the hospital because I had pain," she tells WSMV. "I'd been coughing. I'd torn my diaphragm. I had these seven Vanderbilt angels standing over me, and they said, 'ma'am, were you aware you have a four-inch tumor under your right rib cage?' I said, 'no.'"
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Barbara was told she had six months to live.
"That would be two weeks from now," she notes. "As I came home from the hospital, and as I was lying there, I was like, 'what now?' I started to laugh. I thought, 'I'll throw a party in six months, and I'll invite everybody now, and I'll either be there or I won't.' It's a FUN-eral! Plus, it's cheaper than a funeral. $150 for a shelter. BAM! You're done! I knew that people would want to see me if they could, so I thought I should plan an event where I get to give everyone a hug in the event things do go south."
Her family and friends all admit that they’ve never been to a FUN-eral before, but are happy to embrace Dorris’ approach—after all, she’s never done things the normal way.
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Through it all, Dorris, says she’s never felt more love and support.
"I don't feel alone in this, not for a second," she said. "I never felt more cared for or protected or watched over. I'm just grateful to be alive."