Unfortunately, Dave's family has provided me with the opportunity to attend many funerals in the past 10 years. I've only attended 3 funerals for friends and family on my side in the same amount of time. Ten years is a long time for reflection about what I do, and do not, like at any given funeral. My husband will think me very macabre, so we won't tell him what this post is about and he most likely won't ever read it on his own. If I die, could someone please print out my wishes in time to plan the funeral around them?
I love music and singing. When I die I'd love to have lots of music and singing. My absolute favorite hymns are: 1. Simple Gifts, 2. Bringing in the Sheaves, and 3. Joyful, Joyful. I'm also rather fond of, "How Great Thou Art," but it's so common at funerals that you don't have to sing it at mine (unless you want to).
If the pastor gives a sermon at my funeral I would like it to be about hope, promise, service, and the enduring nature of love. I do not want the officiating person (or any other speaker) at my funeral to speak about: 1. Tithing, 2. The work we must do to earn a place in heaven, 3. My late acceptance of the importance of the church organization (which hasn't happened yet, and may never happen), 4. The importance of obedience to church doctrine (because we all know that I only really care about Love God and love one another- I could care less about conforming to church doctrine), and 5. The opportunity my death gives all the people attending my funeral to accept the Lord as your Saviour (It's not that I don't think that's important- funerals just aren't the place for recruiting new people).
You may talk about service to others (but only if it makes me sound good and actually applies to the live I've led). It would be acceptable to talk about Jesus and the resurrection and how that event gave us all everlasting life (but I'll haunt you if you suddenly shout, "Come to me Jesus!" or begin swaying and moaning). I'd really like the religious part of the event to last fewer than five minutes and it should be something that is comforting (seriously, if there is talk of tithing at my funeral I'll haunt everyone who was there and let that sort of talk occur).
My favorite type of funeral occurs in small, rural churches where all the people in the community know each other. The pastor speaks of the glory and mercy of God. He reminds us that life everlasting is ours once we part from the Earthly realm. Then (after a very brief sermon- like 3 to 5 minutes) the pastor passes the microphone through the congregation and invites everyone to share their memories of the deceased. It's amazing to hear how lives were touched, history was made, and love endured throughout any given individuals life.
Death is a natural part of life. It's hard on those of us who have to move forward without the companionship of our loved ones but I think that we owe it to them to celebrate a life well lived. We owe the widows, the children, and the friends of the deceased the opportunity to know that our lives were touched, our hearts were changed, or simply that we are better people for having known the person who is missing from our gathering that day.
I can't even begin to put into words how much we'll miss Uncle K. He was a unique individual (as all of the Anderson's are truly, amazingly, hilariously unique). Watching the Anderson siblings was more entertaining than any television show I've ever seen. Aunt Barbara, Aunt Betty, Uncle K, and Larry - I keep trying to type what it's like watching this group and the words won't come. They are close. They play tricks on each other (especially Barbara and K). I hope my boys are that close when they are grown. There's so much I'd like to say, but the words just won't come in any coherent form- except- Sam is rotten, and sweet, joking, and serious... and he very much reminds me of K. Every time we'd see K and Sam would be ornery (which occurs pretty much every day) I'd blame K- and he would grin.