By BERN MORLEY
This week I attended the funeral of a relatively young family member who I didn’t know all that well. In fact, after listening to his children and friends eulogise him, I realised that I hardly knew him at all. Hang in there, this story does get cheerier. Kind of.
The thing about a funeral is that is makes you contemplate your own mortality; confront the reality that one day, that will be you up there, lying in that wooden box. Maybe it will be soon, maybe it won’t be for a long time but one thing we probably all have in common, is that we don’t like to dwell on the mechanics of it all too much.
But I think we should. At least, I think we should all take the time to have a hand in planning our own life after death.
It was clear from his funeral, whether this is comforting or not, that my cousin had time to plan parts of it himself and to make sure that in death, as in life, he was well represented by the things that defined him.
So what should you do? What can you do? You can start by planning the following:
Generally there are at least three songs played during a service. Pick at least three that you like. Or that say what you want via song. They can be sad, cheery, uplifting or just plain weird, there are no rules. Just remember this is about your friends and family remembering and celebrating you. My Aunty and I were discussing song selection at the wake and she pulled me aside just before I left and said to me “Make sure they play that “Spirit in the Sky” song when I die! It will of course, be tragic when that day comes but also, a beautiful reminder of a beautiful lady when they play that song.
I once went to a funeral for a child and it was of course, devastating. What struck me though was how she has asked her Mum to get everyone to wear bright pink at her funeral, as it was her favourite colour. Many people often make this request or simply ask that you don’t wear black. This is because they want the service to be a celebration of their life and not a sombre occasion. Some people want special flowers, or no flowers at all. Others want to make sure that their choice of celebrant or priest is observed. If you have a special request, tell someone about it!
Cremation or Burial?
Most people are quite adamant about their choice but I am still conflicted. I mean, what’s better, being burnt or being left to decompose in a wooden box for all eternity? Not a very cheery thought either way. What I did recently see on ‘The Project’, was a company in Sydney that commemorates the loss of a loved one by shooting