When Allan McCabe received a stage four melanoma diagnosis, he was adamant he didn't want a funeral.
A party seemed more fitting for the social larrikin and the only catch was he wanted to host it.
Enter, the living wake.
Also known as a living funeral it's where a person attends their own wake before shuffling off the mortal coil.
His wife Julie McCabe said Allan was 'the life of the party' and told ACM the 'fake wake' was his idea.
"He always talked about how he was going to have a party of some description before it was his turn to check-out," Mrs McCabe said.
"He wanted to be there, he wanted to host it, he wanted to speak at it. He just wanted to be there right in the thick of it, so he was well and truly."
After researching the terminal diagnosis, Mr McCabe decided not to undergo treatment. The Coffs Harbour man was a C3 quadriplegic after breaking his neck in a rugby game accident in 2002.
His living wake was held at Coffs Harbour Hotel. Around 800 people raised their Guinness - his favourite drink - to celebrate Allan.
Seven months later in 2022, the father-of-two died.
Creating a living wake is becoming more popular and funeral director Karin Slade said she'd had more terminally ill patients ask about them.
"It can be whatever you want it to be, living wakes are an opportunity for the person who's dying to be present to thank and to be thanked," Ms Slade said.
She described the event as a party that moved through waves of emotion.
Ms Slade advised that a living wake could be a physically and emotionally draining day for the person.
Dr Marina Deller is researching end-of-life storytelling and a growing trend of people sharing these journeys through social media site TikTok.
"People wanted this communal space, this sense of community ... it's sort of a natural place to have these conversations," Dr Deller, an academic at Flinders University, said.
While start-of-life stories were widely welcomed, end-of-life stories still had a stigma to them.
"There are real positives and there are areas to be careful of but ultimately it's in the pursuit of something really good, which is speaking about death more widely and having [a] happy death," Dr Deller said.
When asked about living wakes, Dr Deller said: "I love the idea and personally I would do it."
"I mean it's about you isn't it? So, why shouldn't you get to be involved and get to experience that with your family."
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As for Allan McCabe, years after his death, he's still very much around the Coffs Harbour social scene.
Instead of being buried or having his ashes scattered in the ocean, the 55-year-old opted for a unique resting spot.
"He's in a handbag," Mrs McCabe said.
In a recent documentary 'Live the life you please' Allan McCabe has affectionately been nicknamed, 'husband in a handbag'.
He is quite literally carried around Coffs Harbour attending social events. When at the pub, Mrs McCabe fondly says she would ask about the whereabouts of her husband.
"There would always be some big burly guy who would have this handbag on their arm and say 'I've got him!'."
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