The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Caitlin Moran offers posthumous advice to her daughter

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

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Here’s one we missed earlier: journalist Caitlin Moran’s draft last letter to her daughter published in The Times in July of last year (remember 2013?). You can find the entire article (£) here

My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to get out – I’ve thought about writing her one of those “Now I’m Dead, Here’s My Letter Of Advice For You To Consult As You Continue Your Now Motherless Life” letters. Here’s the first draft. Might tweak it a bit later. When I’ve had another fag.

“Dear Lizzie. Hello, it’s Mummy. I’m dead. Sorry about that. I hope the funeral was good – did Daddy play Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen when my coffin went into the cremator? I hope everyone sang along and did air guitar, as I stipulated. And wore the stick-on Freddie Mercury moustaches, as I ordered in the ‘My Funeral Plan’ document that’s been pinned on the fridge since 2008, when I had that extremely self-pitying cold.

“Look – here are a couple of things I’ve learnt on the way that you might find useful in the coming years. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start… The main thing is just to try to be nice … Just resolve to shine, constantly and steadily, like a warm lamp in the corner, and people will want to move towards you in order to feel happy, and to read things more clearly. You will be bright and constant in a world of dark and flux, and this will save you the anxiety of other, ultimately less satisfying things like ‘being cool’, ‘being more successful than everyone else’ and ‘being very thin’.

“Second, always remember that, nine times out of ten, you probably aren’t having a full-on nervous breakdown – you just need a cup of tea and a biscuit. You’d be amazed how easily and repeatedly you can confuse the two. Get a big biscuit tin.

“Three – always pick up worms off the pavement and put them on the grass. They’re having a bad day, and they’re good for… the earth or something (ask Daddy more about this; am a bit sketchy).

“Four: choose your friends because you feel most like yourself around them, because the jokes are easy and you feel like you’re in your best outfit when you’re with them, even though you’re just in a T-shirt. Never love someone whom you think you need to mend – or who makes you feel like you should be mended. There are boys out there who look for shining girls; they will stand next to you and say quiet things in your ear that only you can hear and that will slowly drain the joy out of your heart. The books about vampires are true, baby. Drive a stake through their hearts and run away.

“This segues into the next tip: life divides into AMAZING ENJOYABLE TIMES and APPALLING EXPERIENCES THAT WILL MAKE FUTURE AMAZING ANECDOTES. However awful, you can get through any experience if you imagine yourself, in the future, telling your friends about it as they scream, with increasing disbelief, ‘NO! NO!’ Even when Jesus was on the cross, I bet He was thinking, ‘When I rise in three days, the disciples aren’t going to believe this when I tell them about it.’

“Babyiest, see as many sunrises and sunsets as you can. Run across roads to smell fat roses. Always believe you can change the world – even if it’s only a tiny bit, because every tiny bit needed someone who changed it. Think of yourself as a silver rocket – use loud music as your fuel; books like maps and co-ordinates for how to get there. Host extravagantly, love constantly, dance in comfortable shoes, talk to Daddy and Nancy about me every day and never, ever start smoking. It’s like buying a fun baby dragon that will grow and eventually burn down your f***ing house.

“Love, Mummy.”

9 comments on “Caitlin Moran offers posthumous advice to her daughter

  1. Friday 29th May 2015 at 12:03 pm

    […] And putting it in an open letter to her children? This is a blatant copy of Caitlin Moran’s posthumous letter to her daughter, only Caitlin Moran’s was well written and funny and not an attempt to evoke sympathy from a […]

  2. Monday 6th January 2014 at 10:08 am

    Love creative funeral ideas stuck to the fridge – all the best stuff is on the fridge!

    • Jonathan

      Monday 6th January 2014 at 9:00 pm

      You’d be welcome to come and read my fridge door any time, Poppy.

      Come at the right time, now I come to think of it, and you may well find what’s left of me inside it, if they read what it says and they can fold me up small enough!

      xJ

      • Monday 6th January 2014 at 10:39 pm

        Not passed your best before then Jonathan?

        • Jonathan

          Tuesday 7th January 2014 at 7:16 am

          Not yet, Charles!

  3. Saturday 4th January 2014 at 1:10 am

    Excellent advice ….. just excellent advice for all of us!

  4. andrew plume

    Thursday 2nd January 2014 at 9:50 pm

    ah yes, Caitlin

    ……….from Wolverhampton, and a fairly long term resident of Crouch End

    …….never understated and never undersold

    I always read her colum in the excellent Times Mag on Saturday, although I may ‘speed read’ most of it

    andrew

  5. Thursday 2nd January 2014 at 11:06 am

    Great post Charles – and I thoroughly recommend the remainder of her book ‘How to be a woman’ which contains this excellent piece among loads more chapters of brilliant writing.

  6. Thursday 2nd January 2014 at 11:00 am

    Brilliant! Caitlin Moran is a breath of fresh air.
    Thank you.
    Happy 2014 gfg, and all who sail with her. James

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