|Yeah, Though I Walk Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death....
||[Sep. 25th, 2004|09:48 am]
I went to a funeral yesterday. It was the funeral of someone Ailz knew quite well (but didn't much like) and whom I had barely met. No tears then. I was there mainly so Ailz would have an arm to lean on.|
We skipped the church service and turned up at the crem for the committal. The music was Bridge Over Troubled Water. The parson gave us a bit of a psalm- which was bracing, then followed it with a sentimental poem- which wasn't.
In the sentimental poem, the dead person was addressing us. I forget the content. The comfort was in the conceit that she was still in a position to speak. Gah! So why didn't she do it in person?
How broken-backed our religion has become. It has nothing to say about death. It has old words enshrining doctrines that no-one believes any more (or wouldn't if they thought about it) and new words that are merely whimsical.
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must talk bollocks.
We can do better than this.
That's probably the reason for the growing movement towards various sorts of transcendental theologies. The notion that death is final is too firm, but the notion that all things can be overcome and somehow transcended almost seems to have science backing it up. What else is human history but transcending previous mortalities?
We can overcome death if we try hard enough? I've flirted with that idea- and still find it attractive....
Whose choice was the poem? Presumably not the deceased or someone who knew them well. In my experience the successful funerals are those where the deceased had strong religious views and had specified the who/what/where/how of the service in some detail. Conversely the non-churchgoer gets a run-of-the-mill default funeral conducted by someone who never knew them and has all too obviously mugged-up on their life before coming out with some trite clichés about the person and perhaps some pop music and poetry designed not to offend anyone. I've attended too many of those and they leave you feeling ... nothing.
I'm still trying to convince myself it's not creepy to plan one's own funeral. Where I live, a Woodland Burial Ground has set up shop, and so that's one decision made. Also, I have created a 'My Funeral' playlist on my iPod.
I think the poem was the parson's choice, but Bridge Over Troubled Water was the family's.
The best funeral I've been to was a non-religious affair where a succession of friends and family got up and just talked about the dead girl. This was in accord with her wishes. She'd known she was going to die young and had laid plans. The final item on the menu was a recording of the deceased playing her guitar.
We tried to do something similar with my father's funeral, We had a parson and hymns, but we also had a section where tributes from the family were read out- after which a friend of my father's got up and read a poem about race horses which my father had liked.
I haven't made any plans for my own funeral. I sort of figure I'm not going to be there so why bother?
Well, I used to think that too, but having been to a few (too many) recently, my idea is more to provide a satisfying send-off for the benefit of the customers rather than me.
My wife says she doesn't want any kind of funeral, but I tell her that what happens after her death is really none of her business.
We had a friend who was a Egyptian High Priestess. I was going to leave it up to her to cobble something together- but then she fell out with us Big Time.
I dunno, maybe I need to give the matter some thought.
Good point, if the person whose business it is can be guaranteed not to predecease. Shame about the falling-out, that could have been a eulogy to remember.
"No funeral at all" is certainly an option. My local Woodland Burial folk will do this for £800.