Monday, 23 November 2009

On the cheery note of funeral arrangements....

My dad died about a year and a half ago. There's much I could write about this but today I am focusing on funeral arrangements!

Before he died, he made it known to us who his solicitor was and that she held information about the funeral. I realise, in my not-quite-functioning-normally head at the time that I thought this meant he had outlined details about what he wanted his funeral to be like. It turned out, all the solicitor had was 'cremation'. I remember feeling a little disappointed at the time.

We made the arrangements for his funeral in a way that we partially thought he'd like but also with a clear idea of what we did not want: we had it outside amongst the pink rhododendrons, he was in a willow coffin, a silver hearse, the coffin bearers in ordinary suits, my mum, my sister, me and my brother all spoke (or had our words read by the humanist funeral chap). My brother's new-ish girlfriend by virtue of the fact she is Spanish, was asked to read some words a Spanish friend of my father's had sent (an ease-you-in-gently welcome to the family). My husband, my brother and brother-in-law all played live music. A little row broke out between my brother and mother because he wanted to play 'if I only had a brain' from the Wizard of Oz - the pertinence of which is too involved to explain here! It was the usual mixture of sombre poignancy and mirth!

However, as funerals are such cathartic experiences, I think it would have been even better if my dad's presence had been felt more through the arrangements made - i.e. his choice of music, his choice of coffin, his choice of words spoken etc. We did play a couple of tunes from a CD my dad had labelled 'special for me' that might have been a tentative effort on his part to influence the funeral in some way. But my point is: it's good to be present at your funeral other than silently in a box - so make some arrangements!


  1. Read "How to have a good death"!

    Don't worry my arrangements will be so detailed and anal it'll piss you all off! i'll be there all right, directing things! I already have a list.

  2. Right - I'm going before you then.

  3. I have told Jim but he'll forget. The two songs I want played at my funeral are:
    1. Tonight We Fly by Divine Comedy
    2. Seasons of Love from the film (not the show) Rent.

    Thank you! xxx


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