Funeral, Memorial Service or Something Else

quote-about-grief1“I don’t want a funeral. Don’t cry when I’m dead. Have a party and laugh about my stupidity, hilarity and ingenuity.”

My husband looks at me like I’m crazy. As much as I cry when a loved one passes, he thinks it’s the epitome of hypocrisy that I expect people to laugh after my own departure from life on earth.

I’m all over Ecclesiastes chapter three and think that the time to weep and mourn for me can happen in a dark room somewhere. When they hold my service, I want laughter (and for me laughter often involves tears).

In that case, I don’t think a funeral or memorial service will be appropriate for me. After planning a memorial service for my mother, I had no expectation to laugh during the service. Laughter at a funeral would be even more blasphemous, right?

These days, people hold a service after a loved one passes and call it “a celebration of life.” That sounds more my style. Of course, in the throes of recent loss, I find myself choked up and ruining my makeup at these events, too.

Some people have the knack for enticing people at the reception after such a service to share an anecdote. Others join in. Soon, people are smiling and laughing. Reminiscing is the healthiest way to mourn a loss.

Was I ready for this when my mother was in her hospital bed dying? Not really. The evening I witnessed her last breath, could I think of a funny story to share? Nope. As I sat across from the funeral director, did I believe cracking a joke would lighten the mood? Negatory.

These events aren’t the appropriate time and place for cutting up. Sometimes people share anecdotes at the end of an organized service that bring a smile or a titter of laughter. That’s okay. Those who feel it’s appropriate to join in will do so; others will cry and grumble.

I prefer a small gathering of family and close friends in a neutral location – after the reception perhaps. Get the stories flowing. “Remember when Mom piled ten kids into that VW bug?” “Picking up rocks from the garden plot was torture, but Mom sure grew the best green beans and peas afterwards.”

This is the type of casual get-together that I’m talking about when I tell my husband I don’t want people blubbering over my death (after all, I’ll be rejoicing in the presence of my Lord and Savior; what’s sad about that?). Of course people will cry (some will be tears of joy) when I’m dead. My place in their lives will be empty.

Image courtesy of babble.com
Image courtesy of babble.com

We don’t cry for the dead person. We weep for ourselves. Our loss is their gain. Grief isn’t an indulgence; it’s a necessary step in resuming our life – now changed in the absence of a vital player.

How would you like to be remembered when you’re gone? Have you ever been in a funeral-type service where the air crackled with joy rather than grief? If so, why was that the case?

3 thoughts on “Funeral, Memorial Service or Something Else

  1. I am so with you. I’ve told my husband I want people to have a party when I die, preferably at a theme park where they can ride roller coasters in my honor. I also want to be cremated and have my ashes thrown on the beach as that is the most glorious place to be, but not until they go back to Germany with my remains and take one last tour of Neuschwanstein Castle with me in tow. I don’t want crying. I want people to laugh and remember me for the crazy loon I am. I know some people will cry, at least I hope they will because they will miss me, but really, the way I see it, life is to be celebrated, not mourned.

    1. Thanks for sharing this on Facebook.
      I believe the tears promote healing for me, but I can cry in private and receive the same benefit. Laughter is always better when shared.
      I know my husband won’t be in the right emotional state to throw a party within a few days of my death. How about an after death birthday party and everyone brings their craziest stories of me?

  2. Thanks for sharing <3
    I want to be remembered as a kind, funny, and strong person who showed love on this earth and used her gifts to help and encourage others.
    I do hope people won't grieve my death too much and will be able to rejoice because I'll be having a great time in heaven 🙂

What do you think? Add to the discussion here.