Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wrap It Up Already! I'm Dead.

When it comes to the structure and "program" for a funeral, I want the wishes of the deceased and family to be honored. Period.

I mentioned in a post a couple of years ago, about the serving Bishop who died in our stake at that time, that I attended his funeral. It was exactly the standard Mormon funeral - with a eulogy, lots of beautiful music and a couple of talks about him and the Gospel he loved so dearly. It was exactly what he and his wife wanted, and it was intensely moving and beautiful - to a large degree because even the “gospel” talks were focused on Bishop Hazleton. Even they were personal in nature.

On the other hand, I have attended funerals that had the same format and that weren’t nearly as moving or beautiful. The talks were more like regular church talks - having little or nothing to do with the person - and sometimes not what the deceased would have wanted.

I have told my wife and children that I want to have a tape recorder placed in my coffin for the funeral. I want it set at the highest volume level possible and set to play my voice after one hour saying,

“STOP IT ALREADY!! IF THIS KEEPS GOING, ROLL ME OUT OF HERE AND THEN KEEP TALKING. I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT! THAT’S ENOUGH TALKING ABOUT ME AND CRYING. I MADE YOU LAUGH WHEN I WAS LIVING, SO GET INTO THE CULTURAL HALL AND PARTY!! TELL JOKES, ‘CAUSE YOU KNOW DARN WELL I’D BE TELLING THEM IF I WAS SITTING THERE WITH YOU (WITH MY WIFE PUNCHING ME IN THE ARM TO TRY TO GET ME TO STOP AND BE PROPERLY SOMBER). — I MEAN IT. WRAP IT UP ALREADY AND GO EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY!!”

I have NO expectation that my wife and/or children will follow those wishes, but that would be my ideal funeral - a heartfelt eulogy by a friend or family member and lots and lots of great music and dancing and eating - a real party. I want to be celebrated, not mourned . . . but that’s not my call, ultimately.

In the end, I want my wife and/or children to construct whatever arrangement will be best for them - that will bring them the greatest degree of peace.

7 comments:

Stephen said...

That would be a great moment to have at a funeral. You need to tape the message yourself, save it as an mp3, and then post it to several places for recapture later.

I'll bet someone manages to find a player and toss it in your casket ;)

SilverRain said...

One thing I always liked about "The Giver" was the phrase, "Thank you for your life." Even though it had dark connotations in the book, I really like the genuine sentiment.

I try to make sure my family hears that message from me even before they die.

Jeffrey said...

Well, Ryan and I would totally do that for you! Granted we will have to be sneaky so mama doesn't know about it...shifty eyes...lol.

Mama D said...

Jeff, you guys had better give me a heads-up, or you will be having a second funeral after I die from fright! lol

Ray, I can totally see you doing this - telling us to go party and dance and sing already!

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine recently pointed out that it might be easier for my family if they knew exactly what my wishes were.I'm also aware of a family who are in the midst of mutual reproaches for how their father's funeral was conducted.Having tried to arrange things to the best of their abilities,they are now tearing themselves apart with guilt.Not so sure where I stand on this now.I guess this is where a family acts out it's functionality or otherwise.

Papa D said...

I am a big fan of clearly stated desires for funerals, when death does not come suddenly and unexpectedly to the young. I also am a big fan of honoring those desires, no matter what the surviving family members might do on their own.

Patty said...

I would be one of those who would probably laugh my butt off if you really did that. I think funerals should be a celebration of the person (and their personality) and I just can't see a somber, black, depressing one for you!