Best. Funeral. Ever.

They say that the funeral or “homegoing” service is more for the living than it is for the dead. I do know some people who begin to plan their funeral from the time they hit 50. My husband’s grandmother had all her favourite hymns ticked off in her hymn book so it was a breeze to know exactly what she wanted.


Leaving nothing to chance - especially when you won't be there Image credit:
Leaving nothing to chance – especially when you won’t be there
Image credit:

Others leave nothing to chance and ask that a particular scripture be read, a specific singer be asked to do a solo and only a certain minister be asked to give the benediction before they’re put into the ground. I’m not going to get into whether they’re actually going to enjoy the show that’s being put on for them, but it can be entertaining for the rest of us.


Here at home, I’ve always been partial to the funerals that I’ve attended at the local Catholic church – and when I say partial, I mean that I’ve actually enjoyed them. It’s probably because the chosen hymns are very upbeat, and bringing in the drums with the touch of Caribbean rhythm makes me forget for a moment that the occasion is actually a solemn one.


That’s usually enough for me, but in some parts of the US some people are requesting that funerals become fun, as opposed to the cold and sterile numbers that most of them are considered. I’m not too sure that I would appreciate a magic-themed funeral complete with a mortician who doubles as a magician, but I can understand wanting to celebrate a person’s life – without the funeral dirge.


One funeral director (because mortician just doesn’t sound right), has presided over funerals with space-alien and bowling alley themes, and he sees these send offs as celebrating the life of the person and not just disposing of the dead.


I’m not convinced that it’s really necessary to jump through hoops to provide entertainment for the mourners, because I’m pretty sure the deceased has more important things to consider at that point, and watching us play dolly-house on this side of the curtain is not one of them.

Which way? Image credit:
Which way?
Image credit:


Even so I’m unsure as to whether that sort of thing is going to catch on here.


But maybe that’s just the thing some of us need to overcome our fear of the dead. I wrote a few weeks ago about graveyards and their proximity to some people’s houses, but while speaking to someone from Jamaica last week, I’ve come to realize that fear and respect are closer than we think.


How would you feel about being able to look out your window and see, nestled among the pink hibiscus and coral bougainvilleas, a headstone belonging to your grandmother who is buried in your yard? The person telling me this, noted that this only happened in the rural areas of the island and it was quite a few years ago when she last saw it.


But I think it gives new meaning to the idea of keeping your loved ones ‘close”. Don’t you?


4 thoughts on “Best. Funeral. Ever.

  1. I hate to sound too cynical, but when I first heard of these new FUN-erals I had to think the wedding industry was just trying to expand into new markets.

  2. I was not one to attend funerals unless I had to. Lately it seems like I’ve had to. My Michaels Mom had her funeral all planned out and paid for. She was Catholic and it was a big Mass with the music she wanted, sang by her nieces and she wore the outfit she liked. Very nice one. When my nephew died suddenly, it was the most difficult one I have ever attended. Now when My Grandma (Nanny) passed, we had a blast at her memorial and party afterward. We held a cribbage game playoff with the winner getting Nanny’s famous cribbage board. She would’ve loved us having fun. Then the next morning someone made her famous buttermilk pancakes for breakfast and of us grand-kids reminisced about her.
    I don’t know that I would want to attend a fun party unless it went with the character of the person. Some people feel they need to attend funerals as part of the grieving process. I don’t, but if I was close to them, it is a nice way to say good bye and get to know who they were through others eyes.
    Do you have a thought on how you want yours to be? Much singing, obviously. I’ve given it some thought lately.

    1. I must admit that while the inevitable has not been far from my mind lately either, I haven’t yet put pen to paper.
      Having it in a church means that a certain format has to be followed, but I would like to have lots of singing and an orchestra present because I’ve always wanted to sing with one.
      My singing contemporaries might not be up to scratch at that time(if I pass on at a ripe age), so that can’t yet be decided. This is all dependent of course, on whether I’ll actually be able to enjoy the festivities myself.
      When my father-in-law passed, my husband and his sister decided on a eulogy that described the different facets of their father and if you hadn’t known him personally, you would have gotten a very good idea of just the kind of person he was.
      I don’t think one needs clowns and chocolate covered caskets for that.

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