The Ultimate in Pre-Planning

How about a chocolate fountain?

by Barbara Shallue of Musing In Long Hollow

Music by Steppenwolf and Jimi Hendrix, stories about a romance kindled by a wet T-shirt contest, interspersed with traditional Catholic readings and blessings: the funeral this afternoon wasn’t typical, by any means.

But that’s only right, isn’t it? We’re all individuals with distinct personalities. I think it’s only fitting that our funerals should reflect our lives, be a celebration of our lives, not just cookie-cutter ceremonies.

Tonight at the wake, my friends and I shared with each other what we would like at our funerals. One has already made it clear to her kids that she wants a chocolate fountain. Another wants music by Barbra Streisand and Josh Groban–or maybe just some Irish tunes (I promised I’d sneak a picture of Matthew Mcconaughey into her casket or urn, either way.)

I hadn’t given much thought to mine before, except that for music I want “Amazing Grace” and “I’ll Fly Away” and possibly, after hearing it played tonight, “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf. I love that song. It always makes me want to dance, and I would love for there to be dancing at my funeral.  However, I want a traditional Catholic funeral, so could there be dancing? Obviously, there’s a little bit to think about.

I guess to be on the safe side, I’d like a wake, where there could be more music and dancing. I hope there’s at least a little time for people to share memories.  A funeral is when all the different sides, times and angles of a person are revealed. I learned so much about my friend’s loved one’s life today.

I hope people have good memories of me to share. I hope people laugh. Today at the funeral, and tonight at the wake, there was a lot of laughter. The house overflowed with family and friends: friends of my friend (like me), friends of her loved one, even some from childhood, and friends of their children, all mingling, eating, drinking and laughing. And crying.

I think he would have approved.

I’m going to have to think about this a little more. I know it would make it easier on my loved ones if I have it all spelled out beforehand, and that last day has a tendency to sneak up on you when you least expect it.

Have you given any thought to your funeral, to what music, if any, you want played? Do you want dancing? How about a chocolate fountain?

This poem was inside the memorial card passed out at the funeral. I forgot to ask if he wrote it, or if they borrowed it from somewhere else, but I really like it, so I’m sharing it here:

When I come to the end of the road and the sun has set on me, I want no rites in a gloom filled room, why cry for a soul set free? Miss me a little–but not too long, and not with your head bowed low. Remember the love that we once shared. Miss me– but let me go. For this is a journey that we all must take, and each must go alone. It’s all a part of the Master’s Plan, a step on the road to home. When you are lonely and sick of heart, go to the friends we know. And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds. Miss me–but let me go.

Photo credit: www.altrinchamfc.co.uk/ eckychoc2.jpg

  • http://www.eloisescollage.com cyndee

    i just found your story about pre-planning. my daughter had a friend that died young of aids and had planned her funeral. she had everyone sobbing uncontrollably at her service. she had arranged a bagpiper to play amazing grace. he came in the back door playing, walked to the front of the church and back, then again to the front, all the time playing. no matter how hard you tried you could not control your emotions. if people weren’t crying they were laughing. she got us, we’ll never forget that moment.

    • http://barbarashallue.typepad.com Barbara

      @cyndee, I got chills just reading about it! It sounds absolutely beautiful! Amazing Grace makes me cry, anyway, but to have it played by bagpipes – I’m sure no one will ever forget the service or your daughter’s friend.

  • http://delicacies.wordpress.com Laura

    Barbara,
    I love that you’ve chosen this topic, it something I have given thought to this and written about it a few times on my blog. I know things I don’t want: no picture in the paper of me when I was 25, no really tacky music, no major sobbing and wailing, no punch and little finger sandwiches in the church hall…
    I plan to write out my wishes mostly for my sons’ benefit. I don’t want them having to figure it all out alone…and get it wrong!

    I’ll Fly Away is the one song I consistently say I want at my funeral and I think about others too. Need to do some research. It sounds morbid but really it’s very practical. We plan our weddings, why not our funerals?

    • http://barbarashallue.typepad.com Barbara

      @Laura, That’s exactly what we thought. It makes it much easier on the ones left behind having to deal with it all … and death is the only thing in this life that’s guaranteed, right?
      Don’t you just love “I’ll Fly Away”? I think people won’t be able to help but smile when that one’s played!

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