Posted by Wendy Coulton
Recently I had a dilemma in that a funeral I was planning and conducting was for someone who was known among their close friends for using the expletive C*** (C U Next Tuesday) with affection and as a genuine term of endearment.
I winced when I heard this because it is the mother of all swear words and I shuddered at the thought of having my mouth washed out with soap if I cursed (a threat my mother made when I was a child). But equally I understood and respected that it wasn’t regarded as offensive within the tight knit social circle of the deceased.
I knew that I would not myself be able to say the C word as an individual with my own values and also in my professional capacity as a funeral celebrant.
The friends were rallying their support by producing the Order of Service and they wanted to include this particular word on it. When I spoke to the mother of the deceased to research the tribute I became increasingly uncomfortable that her generation of the family could be offended by this language and I shared my concern diplomatically with the friend who was organising the Order of Service.
The friend was very gracious and acknowledged the point I raised. They came up with their own compromise which I thought worked brilliantly. A differently worded version of the Order of Service was produced for the family mourners and another with the C word in it was produced and handed out to friends who attended the service.