Saturday, May 02, 2009

Things I Don't Understand About Funerals

1) If its supposed to be a "Celebration of Life" why do I have to wear black? Or more specifically why is it ok for my mother to wear turquoise but not ok for me to wear pastel pink? (I did anyway, I am such an eff'ing rebel.)

2) Who the hell thought up the tradition of "viewing" people. Frankly being in a room with a dead body creeps me out, even more so when its an open casket. I can understand going and being there for the family but do I have to sit and look straight ahead at a body? I understand wanting closure and seeing the person one last time. But for me personally I would rather see pictures of that person doing what the loved with the people they loved.

3) Why are funerals so damn expensive? Do you know how much it costs to have a viewing for one day? About $5,000 and you dont even get a fun new outfit, chances are you're being buried in something you already own. I could take a really nice vacation for $5,000 (or buy some really nice new clothes).

4) Why do funerals always have to involve some religious figure who virtually knows nothing about the person speaking as if they do. (Really the minister who did my great-grandma's funeral called her the wrong name. ) There is nothing worse than having someone who doesn't know the deceased talking about what a long, great life they may or may not have had.

My mom and I were talking the other day about funerals (because lets face it, having to deal with the death of someone, or in my case this week two people, makes you think of your own mortality). When I outlined what I wanted Big T told me it was completely inappropriate (which really shouldn't be a surprise coming from me). I told her if I died before she did and my wishes weren't carried out there would a lot of haunting going on. Or as my friend said when we were discussing it -- "shit from the Amityville Horror will look mild in comparison to my vengeance." But seriously -- all I want is to be cremated (no viewing, because people don't like going to those anyway) and a big party, a bonfire with all my friends and family. My ashes can be put in a camp chair with a beer propped up next to them. Everyone can sit around listening to good music (none of that sad funeral home crap or God forbid a freaking hymn), playing beer pong and flip cup, reminiscing about fun times with me. (And with $5000 I'm saving them on not having a viewing there better be some really good beer and top shelf liquor.)

Seriously, doesnt that sound much more like "me?" The tought of me laid out in a funeral home surrounded by flowers that I am horribly allergic to with some preacher who doesn't even know me telling every one what a wonderful and nice person I was in some generic service strikes me as incredibly funny. I'd rather it be more personal.

And yes, its been a long few days. Thank you for all your emails and messages.


Bayjb said...

I'm always horrified at the cost of funerals. Like shocked. But I guess you don't want to skimp. The viewing has always been difficult for me because I end up crying always at that point. We've mostly done cremations for our family but the first time we had to watch someone go into the ground, I totally lost it. Awful.

Kylie said...

I love your funeral plans. My mom is adamant that she wants to be creamated, scatterd on a beautiful beach somewhere warm and for us to celebrate (aka party down) her life! The more I think about it I will probably want something similar.

Hope next week is way better than this past one!! *hugs*

MeLaNiE said...

Your funeral sounds like what my brother wants. He wants to be burried in overalls and have a bonfire & if it's not done...he's gonna come back and haunt us haha...Funerals are never fun nor understandable. I hope your weekend is better!

Jenny and Matt said...

Sorry this week was so bad.
Here's a nice thought for you:
When my Dad died we did most of the basic funeral home stuff with one change. We made our own CD's of oldies and celtic music (his faves) and had them played throughout the funeral home instead of that awful muzak they normally play. It led to many funny events during the day as I can still remember one of my cousins (now also deceased) dancing a bit to 'Think' by Aretha Franklin as she said good bye to my Dad.
By a strange twist of something the song 'Rawhide' was being played as they closed up the casket on the day of the funeral. Yep, the words "head 'em up! move 'em out!" were heard by all as they wheeled him away. Now that is funny stuff.
And I still cry a bit every time I watch the Blues Bros.

Rachel said...

You ever seen P.S. I Love You? Both Dan and I want Gerard Butler's funeral.

Lady Jane said...

I am soooo with you on the funeral plans!!! I think your idea is awesome...hanging out in a camping chair with a beer!

Cameo said...

I've made my plans well known and have then written down; donate all my organs and everything else they can use, cremate the rest of me and have a backyard bbq at my house with music, drinks and dancing. If I'm so great as everyone says I am (and I say that with a HUGE boulder of salt)then I damn well better get the funeral of my dreams!

Jen said...

that is exactly the way i feel about funerals as well, hows this future sister in laws father passed away last year, he was a practicing buddah (not sure of the technical term) who was gay. his bother insisted on a full catholic mass...needless to say my future sister in law felt the need to apologize a lot to her deceased father! i am sending you lots of happy thoughts and huge hugs!!

Little Fish said...

I hate to think about you being gone, but I like your funeral plans. At mine I want to make sure someone quotes one of my favorite Counting Crows lines, "There are people who will say that they knew me so well, I may not go to heaven, I hope you go to hell!" :-)

I'm sending lots of hugs and love your way.

Andy said...

That's what my dad wants. Sort of.

I mean, he wants to be cremated and his ashed to be spread on the beach. He wants the funeral money to be used in yummy snacks and expensive alcohol. He says he'll pre-order lots of Chivas Regal bottles and such. He says no one should use black or cry.

Yeah, I should add my mom TOTALLY agrees... NOT!

Hope things are looking up now!

Katie said...

$5,000 is cheap for funerals. I'm with you, cremate me and have a party. Someone can read my favorite scripture at the time, and then there better be a party.

Besides, everyone knows how awesome I am, no need to rehash. I tease, I tease.

kc mom said...

IMO funerals are ALL about those left behind. My parents spent approximately $10K on my sister's headstone. They felt it was the last thing they would ever buy her and they weren't going to "skimp"!!
So sorry for your losses. Hope you are holding up ok.
If you go before me, I will be sure to be there for the do the same for me!!!???
PS--that's why grieving with the Irish is so good---it's all about celebrating the life and kicking back with some drinks!!

Auburn Kat said...

I HATE funerals! HATE THEM!

Lys said...

being a part of three funerals and a visitor to many more, i can say the whole dead body in a casket thing doesn't bother me as much anymore. especially when it was my immediate/extended family, it was nice to be able to have that whole "closure"thing. and yes, watching them go into the ground is really just added heartbreak, but again, it's something i've had to go through numerous times. (and don't even get me started on prices, those funeral homes really know how to rob you. like i really want to shell out my life savings while i'm completely heart-broken, depressed, and wallowing in sorrow, lonliness, and misery?! they should really have more sympathy for the family rather than their pocket books)

as for me, i'm slightly claustrophobic as it is, and i'm not really a fan of being burned, so i'm going to ask that i just be laid out somewhere to rot and be eaten/taken back by nature, or i'm going to find somewhere to die on my own (read: not in a hospital or hooked up to machines) and just have a letter written and ready for my family.

otherwise, i might just steal your idea. but going into the ground is not an option for me.

Lys said...

and i'm sorry about your long week/weekend. it's never easy. i hope this week is a little better for you!

Princess Pointful said...

I love this post. While, yes, I want people to mourn me, I want them to celebrate me more.

Anonymous said...

I know that I shouldn't have been laughing at a few of these, but they are spot-on, my friend.

I prefer color to black at funerals. Every other day of the week I'm wearing some version of black.

I prefer happy songs and eulogies by real friends and family. If the person who passed was close to a priest/pastor etc then that's fine but otherwise, let it be run by the family.

And your idea for a funeral? Much better than the everyday idea.

Big hugs, my friend.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I'm with you. Burn me til I'm dust and scatter me by the sea near my parents' beach house. That's all I want.

Frank said...

At least now the viewing of the body is only an afternoon thing. I hear that back in the olden days, it was customary for the family to stay up all night with the body for its "last night above ground."


Unknown said...

I love this post (and so happy you're back). Totally agree with everything you said...all of the same things bother me. For my friend's brother's funeral the other week, she asked us to go with her for the private family viewing before the viewing. So I was literally with her in the room with his body for seven hours. SEVEN. I always try to avoid getting a good look at the body without being disrespectful. They give me nightmares.

I'll be cremated right along with you. Use me to fertilize some least then I'll be useful!

amanda said...

funerals are the worst.
i'm with you on a lot of those

way to wear your pastel pink!

Maris said...

A few years ago a family friend (19 at the time) died in a freak car accident) and his mom, who was completely and totally devastated beyond belief) threw a big party in his honor. Half the town went and it was almost like they forgot why they were all there. It's a temporary reprieve from grieving I think, which everyone has to do in their own way. I agree that some traditions *like wearing black* are a little archaic. People do things their own way and it shouldn't be viewed as inappropriate to wear something else. (Although I suppose it's along the same lines as wearing white to a wedding!)

alexa @clevelandsaplum said...

what rachel said - i want that too.

just close friends and family, no need for long stale lines at a wake, it's miserable!

lbluca77 said...

Your funeral sounds perfect to me. I don't like open caskets either, it is just scary to me. My funeral is going to be a raging party and everyone will be hungover for days.