Eight Things to Know About My Funeral

July 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm
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    1.  I would like to have one. This is not because I want people to talk about how great I am, but it’s because I want to give them a chance to be ceremonious about saying goodbye.
    2.  Please shop around. Buy my casket from Costco, or whoever has the best deal (just not Walmart, but if I’m dead, I won’t even care). I kinda like the one photographed, with the blue lining, but whatever you want to look at works for me.
    Costco Casket
    3.  Please have lots of music. Please let people lift up their voice. I don’t care how tired of them you are — if you are allowed to play Catholic hymns at a non-Catholic funeral, which why shouldn’t you be, please play and have people sing “Be Not Afraid,” “On Eagle’s Wings” and “Let There Be Peace On Earth.” And “Prayer of St. Francis.” And if you have time for others, I also like “We Have Been Told,” “Morning Has Broken,” and “How Great Thou Art.”
    4.  You don’t have to have this at a Catholic church. In fact, I don’t think they’ll let you. I would rather not have a traditional Catholic mass and instead have something more personal.
    5.  Have lots of food at my visitation. Sitting around at the funeral home for 2 days is exhausting.
    6.  You could also play “Fields of Gold” as sung by Eva Cassidy. Please also add whatever songs you like.
    7.  Read poetry. Something like this:

    Dirge Without Music – Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.


Or this:


Death is nothing at all – Canon Henry Scott Holland

Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way which you have always used.
Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Pray, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant, it is the same as it ever was;
there is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval somewhere very near,
just around the corner.
All is well.


Or something little, like this:


Warm Summer Sun – Mark Twain

Warm summer sun, shine kindly here;
Warm southern wind, blow softly here;
Green sod above, lie light, lie light;
Good night, dear heart, good night, good night.


But especially, this:


On Death – Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.


Or if you’re feeling like it, this, from Lord of the Rings:


PIPPIN: “I didn’t think it would end this way.”

GANDALF: “End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.”

PIPPIN: “What? Gandalf? See what?”

GANDALF: “White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.”

PIPPIN: “Well, that isn’t so bad.”

GANDALF: “No. No, it isn’t.”


8.  Have a nice lunch somewhere afterward. A buffet, maybe. And have macaroni and cheese if it’s not too much to ask.



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