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This is a question Putting the Fun in Funeral

Some deaths come suddenly or too soon and can really hit hard, others seem to be a blessed relief. Similarly, some funerals can be deeply upsetting and sad, others can make you want to hug the world.

Mmm, don't want to bring you down or anything, but tell us your funeral stories...

(, Thu 11 May 2006, 9:31)
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This question is now closed.

There'll be hell to pay for *you*, vicar
Very sombre funeral in suburbia for my uncle. Everybody measuring their words very carefully. Until my cousin decided that he 'really needs a stiff one'. I think he meant drink, not corpse.

Very sombre funeral for my aunt, who was a melodramatic, lovely, loving, laugh-a-minute, exhuberant old dame. So the vicar gave a eulogy for the damned, pointing out how she never got along with her children, didn't love them and how the funeral directors had lost the CD with 'Let's face the music and dance' on it, so she'd be going out to a classical-lite rendition of fecking 'Greensleeves'. And this from one of God's own children... who never knew about her ability to hand-jive with full-on emphesyma and laugh her head off while coughing up a lung, or the first time she got stoned aged mid-60s by smoking a whole hallucinogenic reefer with some young lads she'd taken under her wing. RIP you crazy diamond.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 22:58, Reply)
Funeral for a friend
My best friend has cancer and is currently undergoing pre-treatment for a stem cell harvest/replacement. If the pre-treatment doesn't work, she has less than 6 months.
Needless to say, we've spent quite a few hours planning her funeral.
She wants everyone to cry, and at the service I get to recite W.H. Auden's Funeral Blues
She wants to go down to Wind Beneath My Wings (cheesy, yes, but she's determined to have everyone sobbing if she dies) and then "You are the sunshine of my life" as her 7 year old heads the procession out of the church.
We then get to spread her ashes over the Pacific Ocean and her parents graves.
Afterwards, we all have to get mightily pissed,
and 2 of us have been asked to help her husband raise her son.

Let's just hope it doesn't come to it.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 22:34, Reply)
Music Matters
When my bother died in an accident almost 5 years ago, we briefly debated using some of his favourite music at his funeral. However, this was swiftly abandoned when we remembered that his favourite song was "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash.

We stuck to hymns.

(, Mon 15 May 2006, 22:30, Reply)
Racing Bengali Hearse drivers
Close relative of ours dies in east London. As its a muslim wedding the funeral has to take place within 24 hours. The family manages to book a funeral director who turned out to be the Bengali equivelent of Dr Strangelove and a French taxi driver.

After the Mosque service, the director decides he didnt want to wait for the mourners so he tried to goto the burial site himself and do the job on his own- he had another 'job' to do. Cue distraught relatives rushing to their cars, scooping anyone who looked like they were in the mosque causing traffic mayhem.

I managed to pick-up some close relatives of the deceased so I had to try and get to the grave before Docteur Strangelove got there. Shouldn't be too hard, he only left 10 minutes before me, and how fast can a hearse actually go?

Answer: About 80mph at least. Thats what the speedo said on my Golf as I recklessly weaved through traffic over the Stratford fly-over. Managed to overtake him and him slow down, but I dont think he liked it as he was honking his horn very angrily.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 21:05, Reply)
Forgetting about a pal's mother's funeral
...is a really really bad idea.

During my youth playing Rugby for England’s oldest new town, I had an acquaintance called Fat Terry, who is a tad forgetful and bigoted. A fellow player, Wayne, came along to training one evening moping about wearing a kit coated in mud. He soon informed us of his mother’s recent death and we all went through the usual sympathetic motions.

Of course, Fat Terry came along and asked, “was your mum to busy shagging my granddad to wash your kit then?” At this point everyone jumped in trying to stop Fat Terry from persisting with the taunts, but he carried on until poor distraught Wayne had to tell him. Much embarrassment ensued all round.

Wayne, being the tough sort, insisted on getting on with the training session as usual. As a kind of knee-jerk retort to any event within a game, Fat Terry would taunt the other players with the oh-so-witty statement of “your mum”. Naturally he said this to Wayne, who walked off in tears. At this stage, Fat Terry was admonished by his team-mates and slapped a few times.

At the following week’s training session, Fat Terry managed to be not quite so forgetful for a brief moment. He managed to remember that Wayne had not attended Saturday’s match. Still being a bit on the dim side, his immediate reaction to this rare recollection was “Oi Wayne, were you too busy shagging your mum to play at the weekend?!” Wayne was, as you may have guessed, attending his mother’s funeral.

As the rightwing American politicians say: three strikes and you’re out. It turns out this is applicable to other situations. Rather than marching off in tears, Wayne ran up to Fat Terry, booted him in the genetilia, broke his nose and knocked him out cold. At this point a few guys intervened before Wayne could shove a flag poll up Fat Terry’s arse.

No apologies for length, I’m just a…
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 20:05, Reply)
she's alive
i was at one of those open casket things
for someone i didn't know. as someone approached
the casket my dad let out the ultimate fart.
sounded like he had shat himself.

the whole room went quiet - not sure
if they heard it, my dad just pointed
at the casket and whispered in my ear
"she's alive"
i had to leave the room. once outside i
nearly pissed myself laughing
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 19:12, Reply)
So many deaths lately, so too many stories
I'll start with the recent one. My father, whom I have seen once since 1977 (in 1991, he showed up on my doorstep, on his fifth divorce) and thought was in another state, turned out to be living in the town I recently moved to and died two blocks from my house on April 23, 2006.

I am named after him, so when my sister was reading the obituaries and saw my name and town, she spit breakfast across the table. Then she saw it was HIM. So contact of siblings begins.

After nights of multiple-sibling calling (four of us), it was decided that my younger brother didn't care any way; my older brother, who got most of the abuse (set himself between dad and us), wanted to see the body but didn't want to fly halfway across the US; my sister and I would go and find out what we needed to know. We also agreed we didn't want any money from him or his estate (like he had any). My sister would't take a pic of the corpse with her celphone for our oldest brother, though.

Dad's grandfather was the Grand Dragon for the KKK in this county, which meant they hated my Catholic mother. But my sister descides to bring her black husband to the wake. We walk in, and I immediately need to take a piss. My sister won't let me. People are amicable enough and shocked to see us.

My cousin is the only one clued in that this is hard for us, and he tells us 1) we have no siblings that my dad knew about (given his sleeping habits, this isn't an all-clear yet, and there's the girl I dated in Uni who didn't know who her dad was. . .) 2) Dad has been divorced eight times (you have to admire the optimism -- "I've been divorced seven times, but THIS is THE ONE.").
Said cousin says that while he was at college, dad was getting married again. Cousin couldn't make it, but told my uncle, "tell him I'll catch him next time." That didn't go over well.

It was all very surreal and white-trash (chav w/o Burberry plaid, for those in the UK). My sister and I were the best-dressed ones there, and she had dressed down from what she planned. Hearing about some of their lives was like watching an episode of Springer.

My sister said that the women kept telling her how pretty she is. I don't know if she understood the unspoken finish to that: "so why did you marry a black man"?

The service, for the small group who attended (about 12, including me and sis), was given by the head of the Christian Bikers group my father apparently helped found, a guy named Leon who refered to himself as "The Rev. Harley Davidson."

Twice during the service, the Rev. opened the floor to anyone who wanted to say something. Apparently, my sister and I were both going over relevant Bible verses we knew so as to avoid having to give any facts about the abusive yahoo (not that she really knew him as she was about 3 when the divorce happened in 1973 and about 7 when he left for good).

This means dad died at 63 and mom died two summers ago at 59. I had great grandparents on both sides, and Nana (mom's mom) is still kicking about, so we always assumed that longevity was in our cards. But now. . . .

&tc., &tc. about the length -- but it's a family thing.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 19:11, Reply)
This is pretty timely.....

My Nan died recently, just over a month ago - devestated still, but you always seem to see the funny side of things.
It was the day of the funeral, and the cortege was late by fifteen mintues. My mum was just about to phone then, when there was a knock at the door. The funeral director looked ashen, and was shaking. He said "I'm so sorry we're late, but I have to show you something." He led us round the corner, where we were confronted with the hearse, one limosine which had a huge dent in the boot, the one behind it had a smashed grill, a bent bonnet and a concertina'd boot.

Apparently as the cortege were turning into my road, an articulated lorry had crashed into the back limo, which had bumped into middle one, which was then shunted into the third. The hearse was mercifully unscathed. "So where's the third?" asked my dad, but by this time everyone was getting ready in their own cars to go. As we drove away, with me and my brother in the second limo with the concertina'd boot, we turned out of our road and onto the main dual carriageway. As we drove slowly down, we saw the solitary figure of an undertaker standing by what can only be described as a rectangle - the twisted and mangled remains of the third limo, with the poor driver waving at us, thoroughly embarrassed as we drove past.

After the funeral, our driver was talking to the head undertaker. As I got into to limo, I heard the immortal words, "Thank God it didn't hit the hearse - we'd have never got her out."

I couldn't stop laughing, imagining them trying desperately to dismantle the car in order to winch the my nan out - she would have laughed her ass off.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 19:02, Reply)
The Fun drive-by… or A lesson in Microsoft English…
As my mum was giving me a lift down a quiet back road of Kidderminster, a cortege was just "loading up" outside a small semi-detached. The coffin was loaded but they didn't seem to have taken much care over flinging the flowers in.... for resting against the coffin, right next to the window, in one-foot high, red flowery letters, was a bouquet saying WOW

-Wouldn't have been funny if they had spelt mum properly!
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 17:28, Reply)
Corpse Poking
A mate of mine from school got himself a job at crematorium once he'd finished his final year. It only took him a week to get fired.

He was caught poking one of the corpses.

Apparently it was a dare!
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 15:48, Reply)
grandfather time
the year before last, my granddad died on xmas eve. not a recipe for a cheery "festive" season, but shit happens. his funeral was scheduled for a couple of weeks later, during which time i'd returned home to london to pick up suitably funereal attire. all well and good until i got back to devon, only then realising that i'd forgotten my one and only pair of black shoes. not such a problem, you'd think, and you'd be right, but for two crucial factors. 1) i was acting as a pall-bearer 2) the only person with the same size feet as me in my family is, you guessed it, my grandfather. kind of a weird experience, carrying a relation to be cremated, whilst wearing a pair of his brogues...
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 13:47, Reply)
My mate got the wrong funeral
A work-mate of mine ducked off work to attend the funeral of a family friend. It turned out to be a busy day at the crematorium with three services kicking off at the same time. It was only after my mate was seated that he realised that he did not recognise a single person there - The service got under way and my mates worst fears were comfirmed, he had no idea who the departed was. Of course, rather than face the embarassment of leaving, he chose to sit through the service.


It turned out to be a bit of a trendy new age affair with the celebrant walking round with a microphone asking the assembled for their thoughts on the recent corpse. Comments such as "He lived for his family" and "He was a true friend" abounded. My mate had the mike handed to him and gave his comment - "I wish I'd known him better".

Quick thinking that, I thought.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 13:35, Reply)
Unexpected Indie Funeral
It was the first funeral I'd been to and I was 28 at the time. I was sat with my brothers and cousins as we are all a similar age. The service was in full flow a the local crem and frankly it didn't seem to have much to do with my Auntie so we were all feeling quite detached from it. It was about half way through when the Vicar fella spoke the immortal words "I am the resurrection and the life". Cue a pew full of young mancs perking up, Stone Roses full blast on the internal jukebox. Let me tell you, watching your Auntie's coffin roll off behind those curtians with Mani's bassline pounding through your head, you can't help but think they're off to a better place.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 13:00, Reply)
My mate Matt
My mate Matt died, struck down in the prime of his life for no reason at all (he was 20, and there really was NO REASON - postmortem said so). But his funeral was a hoot. For me.
As he wasn't religious they played music that he liked - there was some Stereophonics, some Bryan Adams and because the like the film so much the theme to Top Gun. As his coffin came in the music was reaching it's crescendo and my mind took flight. I suddenly had a vivid image of the two front rows of mourners standing up and all air-guitaring in time to the music with their rock foot out. It was bloody challenging not to burst out laughing, especially as every one else was blubbing.

Then we wen't down the pub for the rest of the day.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 12:57, Reply)
My Heart Will Go On
Was the actual song played when my great-grandmother's coffin slid behind the curtains.

My great-aunt, who was organising this thing, further embarrassed us by releasing three white doves, Michael Jackson-style, outside the crematorium, after the longest and most excruciating service - during which it was quite obvious to everyone that the vicar (or priest, I don't know) was totally inept, racked by coughing fits and not too far from those curtains himself.

And they all wonder why I'm the only atheist in the family.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 11:23, Reply)
If I had a hammer.........
There is a notoriously unreliable one-man-band undertaker in our town. He apparently stays in business through drastically undercutting his rivals.

Rumour has it that he was nearly lynched by a Gypsy family a while back when a flimsy coffin fell apart in the bearers' hands.

The undertaker is believed to have blamed a lack of nails for the failure, and, producing a handful of new nails from his pocket, asked if any of the guests had a hammer.

This may be related: my mate saw last week in town a breakdown truck carrying a hearse, complete with coffin. If that had been me, with my ever-present camera, there'd have been photos, and maybe a short video.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 8:12, Reply)
One way ticket...
A friend of my nephews came down from newcastle on the train last sunday and an old lady sitting next to him died. He said the worst thing was his friend didn't believe him and tried to get her to stand up.
The guard said there was nothing he could do so they'd keep going...
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 7:54, Reply)
My cousin's wife passed away after a long bout of leukemia. She had two daughters, girls, who had come to grips with her impending death long before anyone else had. Caitlyn, the youngest, was sitting in the reception area of the hospital when the secretary said her, "Why, don't you look adorable today?"
Caitlyn replies brightly, "Thank you! It's my birthday, and my mommy just died!"
The woman promptly burst into tears. Caitlyn didn't really understand why.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 6:37, Reply)
Luckily, I'm from a much better state than Iowa. It's frightening.
At my grandfather's funeral last year, my four year-old niece jumped into the wishing well outside, stripped herself of clothing and ran around the funeral home naked. My cousins (who knew we were blood relatives) repeatedly hit on me, causing much retching. Every single one of them had rosaries that they pulled from mystery locations; I was literally the only one in the room without a one, and laughed at their devoutness (much to my mother's horror). Just when everyone was "getting into" their prayers, someone dropped a gigantic plastic container of cake down the stairs, complete with "god damnit, Jesus." All in all, it was more entertaining than the last funeral I attended.
I think my grandpa's happy: he never really cared about church.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 6:05, Reply)
Where's the cheese...
My father, years ago, worked for the local council as a health inspector. One of his duties was to go around to real old graveyards and test vacent spots for remains. He often brought us with him for a day out. He had to drive an oversize cheese tester about 6 or 7 feet into the ground, give it a twist and pull it out again. We got to search the sample for bone fragments and bits of cloth. If we found none it was safe to bury someone there. Space was obviously at a premium.
Another one he taught me when I started working was whenever you survey a graveyard look out for the graves that are off line. They'll be the burials from around christmas. Drunken gravegiggers and all that. He was right.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 5:46, Reply)
Bizarre doesn't begin to describe it
The missus and I were driving through Hurstville, NSW earlier this year when we passed a funeral that had stopped because of a puncture.

Not funny that but it was the sight of four mourners in full 1960's Star Trek outfits, bright red and yellow, attempting to change the tire. As if this wasn't funny enough they were all of asian appearance which caused me to shout "full speed ahead Mr Sulu" as we passed.

I'm sure that helped them a lot, and i'd have loved to have been at the actual funeral for the 'parade' but alas the missus wouldn't let me follow them.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 3:50, Reply)
when I'm dead

if anyone says of me "it's what he would've wanted", please remind them that what I would've wanted would be to not have died.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 3:14, Reply)
it's a well known fact in our family..
that we only ever meet up during births marriages and deaths (i.e the hatch/match/dispatch syndrome).

last occasion?
my grandmothers funeral.

what did we do?
finished off 4 bottles of vintage red wine, before getting a taxi to the pub. which was 5 doors down the road.

and you say funerals are boring.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 2:04, Reply)
A trip...
A distant relative had died and there we were standing around the grave as the last rights and all that hocus pocus was being said. No-one seemed to notice the wheelchair bound stranger resting their eyes, leaning on the lever on their chair and driving straight into the grave... luckily there was a crane on-hand.
(, Mon 15 May 2006, 1:23, Reply)
Gran's Funeral
At my grans funeral a few years ago, it was your average Catholic requim mass. However as it was close to christmas time, the priest read out the story of Mary's journey to Bethlehem. Because of the fact I wasn't listening to the start of the story and the fact my gran was called Mary, on the way to the burial I asked my dad how long gran had a donkey. Wrong Mary eh?
(, Sun 14 May 2006, 21:04, Reply)
my grandad died
i was quite upset, but my brother wasn't. oh no. he sat in the funeral car cracking jokes and making me almost piss myself all the way to the crematorium...

i felt so utterly guilty every time i noticed the driver looking at me through the rear view mirror... it wasn't my fault... i was really upset... i curse my brother for being such a funny shit and he really wasn't upset at all... i think he'd already calculated the net worth of my grandfathers estate and lifted his mood accordingly.

some drunken twerp caused a disturbance after the funeral in the pub (we'd rented out a room) my brother followed him into the loo and cracked one off in his face, well, he might as well have done judging by the look of the fella when he came out, went straight to his car and drove off... i wanted to tip off the police to his drunken drivings.., but my brother wouldn't let me... maybe he felt the guy had suffered enough... and he probably had... he probably had.

yes... my grandfather has died. long live my brother... a total shit who doesn't really give a toss about anyone... but he is a funny fucker.
(, Sun 14 May 2006, 20:22, Reply)

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