The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Dying Large

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Very nice piece here by Wendy Dennis in the Huffington Post.

I must have crossed some kind of age threshold, because when I go to funerals lately, I start thinking about my own. It’s not the dying part that scares me. It’s the numbers I’ll draw for the service. I’m in the sanctuary and the place is packed and some relative is at the podium going on about how wonderful the dead person was and how much they gave to the UJA, and I start taking a head count and doing the math and the minute the funeral is over, I call up my daughter and tell her that when my time comes, she has to hire extras.

She hates when I talk like that, but I don’t think you can be too careful about the optics of your own demise. For instance, if I die in a horrible accident, I want my handlers to know that they are not, under any circumstances, to let anyone mark the spot with teddy bears or carnations, tell my loved ones that I’m “in a better place”, hold a “life-affirming” remembrance for me, or deliver one of those treacly eulogies that make people wonder if they’ve walked into the wrong chapel.

There ought to be a law against delivering a crappy eulogy. I can’t tell you how many funerals I’ve sat through wishing that the Law and Order crew would burst into the sanctuary, handcuff the offenders, and read them their rights — especially the one about their right to remain silent. When someone is charged with the responsibility of delivering the last words that will ever be spoken about another human being, I think they have a moral obligation not to mention their meatball recipe.

More here. Well worth it. 

One comment on “Dying Large

  1. Wednesday 5th October 2011 at 10:55 am

    Go, Wendy D! Great stuff. A useful check on those of us who want to reinvent funeral rituals, and decorate, ring bells, eulogize to specially composed “music,”, release helpless birds to the threatening skies (and the grateful peregrine falcon),and so on and on.

    I liked it when Jeremy Hardy said “I’m not having one of those humanists. They come and camp out on your lawn for a week.” For some people, we just make too much of the wrong kind of fuss.

    I’d like to know WD’s procedures for jacking up the numbers, our village hall is quite big…

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