Everybody deals with terminal illness and death in the way that is comfortable and best for them. There are many, many different reactions that people have when given the news. Take my mom and her sister for example. Both died in their early 50s from cancer and had a short time to prepare for their death... and they did so very differently. My mother took the approach of not ever wanting to talk about it and not wanting people to know. Maybe she thought if she ignored it, it wasn't really happening. My aunt, on the other hand, embraced her impending death very differently- she accepted it, was vocal about it, she wanted to talk about it, and she threw herself a living funeral.
She and her friends frequented the local "Hong Kong" bar and she knew that is where it would be. She invited friends that she saw often and friends that she hadn't seen in many, many years. Some couldn't bring themselves to attend (I learned this from them at her real funeral), and others went and were glad to say their goodbyes and praised her for her initiative. It was informal, intended to be a good time (I say "intended", because the occasion is rather sad, yet it somehow remained upbeat), it was loud, and it was totally "her." She enjoyed her time and for the weeks after the party before her death, it was all she could talk about. She carried around a small album of pictures she took at the event and showed it to everyone.
Perhaps a living funeral isn't for everyone. My mother, who passed away before my aunt, would have hated the idea, while her sister loved it.
Living funerals are a growing trend and I've included some articles about it below.