When I was born, my mother didn’t tell anyone she was pregnant — not her best friend or any of her sisters. Not for any salacious reason. My mother had been married to my dad for 18 years and already had two sons.
In fact, I am not sure why she didn’t talk about it. She was a soft round person so with loose clothing, she was able to completely hide it. It was in the winter and that helped.
When my brother told people he had a sister, no one believed him. That’s how I came into the world. Sliding in quietly with no fanfare.
When I think about the funerals I’ve attended, some have been (egad!) fun and some are a duty. I don’t go for a free lunch or to be nosy. I go for the survivors.
If I don’t know the survivors, I won’t go. The deceased is well…dead. They don’t care if I go or not. The whole point is to show support for those left behind.
So how do you structure your own funeral so it’s in the fun group? I would start by not having an open casket. Dead people rarely look like themselves.
Several years ago I went to the funeral of a co-worker. She had a long struggle with cancer. I did not recognize the body in the casket. For all I know they could have rented a cadaver.
Perhaps another thing would be to have music playing that would be considered contemporary for the deceased.
In my case it would be from the 60s-70s-80s. Fun stuff. Maybe some Beatles and Eagles tunes. Mix it up with the Stones, Jimmy Buffett and a few other favs. Wait, I want the Everly Brothers too! (Perhaps I should do my own play list.) I want people’s feet tapping and their hips swinging. They are still alive so they should keep moving.
If it’s in the morning, I’d have a coffee table with the good stuff. Danish and strudel too. If in the afternoon, some light noshing with a margarita bar.
No one is allowed in without a story (hopefully complimentary) about me. (That will cut down on the bar bill!) I want the tissues for laughing.
No chairs in a row. In fact not many chairs. I want people circulating explaining how they knew me and why I was wonderful. When they get tired, they can leave.
The funeral we attended had a therapy dog moving among people for hugs and pets. I liked that (although I had to explain why I smelled like dog to my cats).
Since I expect to live to a ripe old age I want a Depends dispenser in the bathrooms. Laughing and dancing is stressful on old bladders. (Someone told me that…)
Nothing formal, lots of laughter, music and a true celebration but not too long. Just enough time for a toast, a smile, a giggle and a wiggle.
Then again, maybe I’ll go out the same way I came in. Without announcement or fanfare, just slipping peacefully in the night.
Next I’ll work on my obituary.
Author’s note: This is a personal reflection and not meant to judge what you might want for your exit. Although I would suggest a margarita bar (coupled with Uber service) to lighten the mood.