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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Arranging for My Funeral

Whenever I need cheering up, I find planning my funeral usually does the trick.
I have known people who put off planning for their own funerals, and I warn against it strenuously.  An acquaintance of mine passed away, but hadn't put a thought to what sort of funeral he had in mind, so naturally he was very disappointed.  We explained to him, "Look, you can't possibly expect to plan a decent funeral without a least a month's planning," but did he listen?  He did not.  His widow said that was just his way.  As a result, the whole thing was a muddle.  Here everybody's looking forward to enjoying themselves at a nice funeral, and instead the caterers were late, and the trained doves that were supposed to pop out of the funeral cake had been accidentally cooked inside, and that put a damper on the whole affair.
I myself, have been planning my funeral for twenty years off and on.  Currently the instructions run about three hundred pages single spaced.  I expect to have a Dixie-land band, and at least three separate formal services - one for when I'm buried in a humble wooden coffin beneath a spreading oak tree, one for when my ashes are scattered from a biplane across the Shenandoah (in an earlier draft, I specified a hot-air balloon, but that would be just silly) and another for when my flag-draped coffin is dropped into the sea.  This will call for some lively work and a certain amount of unearthing and retrieval if I'm going to get all three services.  For example, if I'm cremated first, then burial at sea is hardly going to be an option later on.  I figure, first the conventional grave, then burial at sea, then cremation.  That way I'll get maximum value for my  funeral dollar and everyone will have a good time.
A good hired mourner will set up a wail
which will drown out any unwanted laughter
Another matter you need to consider is professional mourners.  I know a lot of people make do with amateurs, and sometimes that works out well enough, but think carefully about who's really likely to show up at your funeral.  How many of them will be secretly or even publicly relieved?  Some people assuage grief through inappropriate laughter; I'm an inappropriate laugher myself, and know what it's like.  And once that gets started, it's infectious.  You don't want your eulogy interrupted by an untimely fit of giggles breaking out among the bereaved.  A few good hired mourners will set up a good wail which will drown out any unwanted laughter among your nearest and dearest, plus they set the tone for the whole thing.  I think for a price, a pro will even jump into the grave on top of the coffin - and once the guests see that, they'll sit up and take notice.  Everyone will be talking about it for weeks.
I told Nancy about my funeral plans: the Dixie-Land band, the three services, the hired mourners, the doves bursting out of the funeral cake, and she was very excited.  She said she can't wait.

1 comment:

  1. Your funeral won’t be boring, to say the least. It’s fascinating to see people talking about their funeral plans so casually, since it’s a dodgy topic to start with. Even so, I believe that planning your own funeral is a serious undertaking because it’s going to be the last memory of your loved ones about you.

    Margo Loveless