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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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must wear black
at my step-grandfather's funeral there were some 3rd cousins (15 times removed) - these girls were mingers in the extreme. obviously they were of the belief that funerals mean you must wear black. with their black fishnet stockings, black crotch-high miniskirts and black skimpy lace tops, they would have been more at home at a hookers convention. i'm just thankful that they were not blood relations.

on another note, i used to work with a woman whose son worked at the crematorium. a family member of one of their 'clients' made a complaint about the muzak playing in the chapel prior to the cremation - 'light my fire'...
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 15:31, Reply)
...Nothing Matters Now!
The message about the PowerPoint presentations reminded me of this...

About a year and a half ago now, one of my flatmates at uni tragically died in a car crash (taking with him a mate from Manchester University). Needless to say the memorial service at the chaplaincy was a very sombre affair, a good hundred people from the university, friends, family, people crying.

The climax of the service was "the lighting of candles, whilst a montage of photos of Michael (the guy who died) and music will be played... to remind everyone of him".

At this point people begin to file up to the front whilst a slide show of photos taken by his friends were put on loop. Quite ironically however, every shot was of him holding, drinking or necking booze of every variety. This was doubly amusing as he was a known alcoholic (he got through a trade-size bottle of Absinthe in my Freshers Week) and it was known for a fact he was totally wasted when he decided to drive to Liverpool on that fateful night.

The challenge to stifle back an illict smile came to a head when 'Amarillo', Dolly Parton's classic '9 to 5' (he never turned up for lectures) and Franz Ferdinand's gay anthem, "Michael", was put on loop for the rest of the service.

Ah well... I guess that's what he would have wanted...
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 14:10, Reply)
Talking shop
My stepdad is a minister but perhaps is not always overly sympathetic at funerals. At my nan's funeral he sat up front with the undertakers and 'talked shop' with them despite the rest of the family being is floods of tears.

At my great-auntie's funeral (she was a crazy old duck who'd been cuckoo for years and was very old when she died, therefore although sad not hugely distressing) he sat at the front with us all being very solemn and respectful until the organ pipes up a slow mournful tune. My stepdad cheekily whispers 'Got any reggae?' just loud enough for me my brother and sister to hear. Cue stifled laughter and much shaking of the shoulders. Hopefully from the back it looked like paroxisms of grief.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 13:12, Reply)
Reality Bites
I never met a sane or normal gravedigger. Our local guy is a cross between Norman Bates, Santa Claus and a honest to goodness tramp who seldom sobers up. So at the recent funeral of a young girl who was in an accident, some of us local were not surprised when, as they were lowering the coffin, it didn't quite seem to fit. Much sobbing ensued and grim faced funeral directors and male relations tentatively prodded the sides of the grave with shovels and sticks and whatever was about. Until suddenly, through the crowd breaks Norman Claus, the gravedigger. "Stand back" he shouts and ploughs his size 12 wellington onto the coffin which plummets head first into the grave leaving it at a clean 45 degree angle. Despite this huge faux pas, it was me who turned out to be the bad guy when I broke my hole laughing at the surreal sight of a dirty Santa kicking a coffin into the ground.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 12:59, Reply)
Simple really
I work for a company who have a very casual dress code for all.

Me to colleague arriving in suit: "Hahahahahaha - who died??"

Colleague: "My best friend, I'm going to the funeral this afternoon."

Me: "ah."
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 12:37, Reply)
Walking through Camden late one night
...not much going on, feeling a bit down. My phone rings and it's my Mum.

"Hello dear," she says. "What music do you want played at your funeral?"

I'm like, "What?"

She continues: "Well, me and your sister decided that we should all write it down and keep it with the family documents so that we don't get it wrong."

I thought for a second. "Hardcore Motherfucker by Ultraviolence," I replied.

It's going to be great.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 12:11, Reply)
Tears from heaven
My grandad died less than a year ago. Good innings etc. Anyway, we were in the car following the hearse, me, my mum, my uncle, and my younger sister.

My mum is insane and likes to make a huge drama out of everything.

It was really quiet in the car. My sister looks out of the window and softly says "I think it's starting to rain". My mum looks out of the window, ponders for a moment and says "Perhaps... perhaps it'll rain tears from heaven"

My uncle adds "Or it might piss down."

I've never before or since wanted to give anyone a huge high-five.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 11:13, Reply)
When my Uncle died he stressed in his will that he wanted You'll Never Walk Alone as the song he was taken out of the church to. He was a huge Liverpool fan, so thought it'd be very cool. I think he envisaged a whole room full of crying family members linking hand and being, you know... strong.

Anyway, being somewhere far removed from the cultural map, the only version he had of it was from one of their FA Cup Final tapes, so we grabbed that and headed to the church. The funeral went really well, and just as it was about to wrap up I get the nod from the vicar to flick the switch on the tape machine.

Now, I'm pretty stupid. I didn't really check which side of the tape I put in, so as weeping relatives had their final chance to say goodbye to my Uncle, they did it to the strains of...

...The Anfield Rap.

(, Sat 13 May 2006, 11:09, Reply)
Wake up!
This was at a wake rather then a funeral.
When my grandmother died she made it quite clear that the alcohol budget for her wake was whatever was in her purse at her time of passing. I was quite young at the time but it was quite the party. I was informed at a much later date that the amout of money in question was somewhere in the vicinity of $5000.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 9:52, Reply)
Are you OK?
My mum died last year after a short illness (cancer, found too late to do much about). She had a nice funeral, inasmuch as funerals can be "nice". The organist had problems playing her instrument at the correct speed, leading to some hymn-singing difficulties, but apart from that it was all very dignified.

So I'm outside the crematorium, after the curtains have gone round my mother's coffin, the vicar's done his ashes-to-ashes stuff. It was, essentially, the worst moment of my life. I stand outside in the June sunshine, shellshocked. People come up to me.

"Are you OK?"

AM I OK? AM I FUCKING OK? Yes. I am absolutely fine! I've just said goodbye to my beloved mother, who six months ago we didn't even know was ill, after watching her decline from an outgoing, confident career woman to a shell of a person, jaundiced and off her box on painkillers. I've now got to finally admit she's gone and try to rebuild my life at a time when we should finally have started to get to know each other properly, now that I've moved out and am starting my own life and respecting the difficulties she must have had raising me. I AM ABSOLUTELY FINE. Never felt better, in fact.

I didn't say that, like. I just blew my nose and nodded while they patted me on the back.

Kinda regret not making a scene now. If you can't make a scene at a funeral, when can you? Twats.

(My dad was an undertaker for several years. I'd tell his stories here, but frankly they'd put you off using a funeral director for life and you'd have to bury your beloved in the back garden, and I don't want to be responsible for that.)
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 9:51, Reply)
And now for something light-hearted
My dad is in very good shape, part of the Jack Lalanne juicer club, and doesn't look like he's going anywhere soon, but he has left instruction for us to play Meat Loaf's "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" at his funeral. Mom is very much against the idea.

And after attending a relative's funeral with an obviously off-the-boat Filipino priest, dad made it very clear he wants an All American priest who knows how to speak English. He wants to be resting in peace, instead of piss or peas like poor Uncle Donald.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 9:33, Reply)
Well, I don't want to *upset* anyone...
At my granddad's funeral (think a kindly Christopher Lee):

I was leaving the church, crying to myself, as you do in such situations, up comes the fat, so-similar-to-vicar-of-dibly-it's-not-even-funny vicar (who had forgotton to mention my mum in the summery of grandad's life...) and puts her arm around me, I turn my tear-stained face up, waiting for Christian words of wisdom and comfort;

"Don't cry - you might upset people."
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 9:28, Reply)
At summer camp last year, I was a sort of trainee living with a younger bunk. July 5th, everyone in both sides of our bunk are summoned into the camp director's office for Very Bad News. There was a car crash the night before involving three counselours. One is in hospital and the other two didn't survive. One of them is a counselour from our bunk and had attended the camp since she was a little girl. My girls are hysterical and the noise is the worst sound I'll ever hear. I swallow tears and try to be strong and make a horrible effort at comforting everyone.

Things only got worse because that day was a day-off, so there weren't many activities to keep kids distracted with. Half of the camp was at the movies along with dozens of fellow trainees who were extremely close with her and had no idea of what had happened. Head of camp calls the half present into the main theatre to tell them what's happened. More sobbing and screaming and horrible noise. After awhile, everyone else comes back and many go completely oblivious about what's happened. Most of my friends are inconsolable and absolutely devestated.

A few days later, I have to go home to attend a mandatory university seminar about the school and what we will see as freshmen. I'm miserable, most of the staff are very pissy about my lack of interest in the school and my decision to not spend the night there, and during a presentation about the horrors of depression, rape, and drunk driving, I leave and break down crying in the bathroom, telling the whole story to a poor aide who was very nice to listen to me. I wound up leaving after a semester anyway since the school was such shite.

The icing on the cake? My mom and I get into an argument on the way home, I start drama in a camp related community on MySpace when I'm trying to report news, the washing machine over flows with my laundry and as I'm trying to help mop up the basement, dad tells me to go upstairs to write my thank you notes for my graduation gifts. I go upstairs and bawl, letting myself have a proper cry ever since it happened. Family realises I might be just a little upset over what's happened.

There was a beautiful memorial service held in the circus where our counselour had worked and spent most of her time at camp. They had to cap the number of people who wanted to share stories, sing, or say something about either her or the other counselour. It was a beautiful service, my friends and campers were very strong, and most everyone left the service feeling a little better. I left feeling a little optimistic that things would get better.

Bullshit. The abuse I was already taking from a camper and one of my counselours only got worse, almost all of my friends were busy in different shows or side projects so I rarely saw them, and a huge wave of PMS left me blubbering for a week. I can't think of a time I did stop crying from how miserable things were going and how little of an effort the staff was making to reprimand either of them or get me out of the damn bunk. (The two were very "how dare you ask me to do our part of chores when I'm putting on make-up? That's so rude. You're a fucking bitch." types) I was finally switched out, but I was so drained from the accident and my previous bunk that I left early anyway.

I barely knew either counselour, but I didn't realise how often our counselour had been in productions until I saw cast listings written on the walls with her name. I saw her face everywhere around campus afterwards and I'm still definitely not over it, but I don't want to bring up the subject around anyone since it's just salt in their wounds. I don't remember many people telling me if I was a good help for what was going on, especially since most of the girls in the other side of the bunk were from my bunk last year or grew attached to me anyway as their trainee rarely spent time around them.

Apologies for length and terrific amounts of depression. It's late, I'm nuts and I saw an opportunity to get stuff off my chest.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 9:25, Reply)
Someone in my family
was cremated in shorts and a favourite tatty old shirt.

Several relations later came across postcards from him, when he'd been on holiday in Fiji the previous winter, saying 'This place is Paradise!'

On photos from that holiday, he is, quite spookily, wearing 'that' shirt.

The thought of him entering Paradise in his yellow 'MOVE THE CROWD' shirt is strangely comforting.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 7:55, Reply)
Who dresses the dead?
Flew back to my fathers funeral in irl a few years ago and arrived at the mortuary to find him laid out in the coffin dressed in a shroud. He never wore one of them n his life, where was his blue cardie with the hankie hanging out of the pocket?!!
Couldn't get him changed at that stage so down he went. To this day I'm gutted...
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 6:13, Reply)
Heartless, hilarious and worryingly true
Not a funeral, but still death related humour.

When away from the drunken student lifestyle of Leicester I live in a small village in Hampshire inhabited by a large percentage of old people.

One such codger lived next door to the village hall and regularly phoned the police to complain about the volume of events taking place leading to many birthday parties and general gatherings being ruined. So much as a game of chinese whispers would lead to a visit from the local copper.

He died about two years ago and was cremated, the evening of the wake when his ashes would be spread in his garden clashed with the village rugby club holding a disco fronted by the village's cowboy DJ who is practically Ray-Von's stunt double complete with rewired traffic lights, some orange beacons nicked from the side of a skip and a smoke machine that smells suspiciously of an actual fire.

At one point in the evening with the speakers up nice and loud the DJ declares "This next one goes out to the party next door, Rest in Peace Geoffrey..."

The song? Burn Baby Burn. Disco Inferno.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 5:11, Reply)
The first funeral I attended was one of my friend's, with whom I grew up with, but we were never really close. He died as 23 years old of diabetes. Remember, we weren't really close, so I went to show my sympathies to his family and such. During the thing, I can't stop thinking about the scene from Simpsons, where Homer imagines his own funeral. Being thrown in a whole, head first, so his feet stick up of the ground. After this two dogs come along and bite and shake his feet. I could not stop giggling. I'm a horrible person, yes.

Second funeral was my grandfather. When my grandmother lowered the ourn a neighbour to the church blasted Robbie Williams' "I just want to live" so loud it was impossible to ignore it. Luckily, I don't think my grandmother is very good at English...

Edit: Both happened this past autumn, by the way.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 4:27, Reply)
A friend of mine told me this:

His friend had inhospitably died at a young age. They had been in a band together and had recorded a bit of music. At the funeral his parents announced that they had found a song that their son had made on his computer. The song comes on:

...And I wonder
When I sing along with you
If everything could ever feel this real forever
If anything could ever be this good again

The only thing I'll ever ask of you
You've got to promise not to stop when I say when
She sang...

What the parents had found was the acoustic version of a Foo Fighters song that they had somehow mistaken for one of their son's songs ("He was NEVER that good," says my friend).

So there are his all mates, silently pissing themselves with laughter as everyone else tears up at the idea that this brillient young songwriter's life is now gone forever.

My friend says his mate's life had always been comically tragic / tragically comic that way.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 4:24, Reply)
Don't cry, FFS Mom!
At my very first funeral (physical age 11, mental age 5), I kept telling my mom not to cry; I guess I thought it would be rude or something. It was her dad's funeral.

At another funeral (physical age 14, mental age 8) I kept lying down on the pew to sleep.

I think at my own funeral I'll have people burn me on a pyre, that oughta keep them awake.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 4:10, Reply)
I drove to a friend's party, where I'd been assured that if I got really pissed/stoned, there'd be a comfy couch/bed/beanbag for me to flop onto. It was a pretty good party - I met an amazingly attractive guy who appeared to rejoice in the name "Fucker" (Volkar, he was German), drank my own and everyone else's beer, and nibbled on some of the host lady's awful attempts at hash cookies (which were basically heads dipped in chocolate - not successful on a eating level but very stoney). Having failed to cop off with Fucker and being kinda tight-faced as eating heads dipped in chocolate will do, I sobered up a wee bit and drove home at 3am, very, very slowly.

The next morning I checked my SMS's, and opened one from Mum. "Your cousin Jason has been killed in a car accident. Please drive carefully." Hmmmmkay then.

I wasn't asked to the funeral, which was 800km away. As Mum explained, "I knew you hated him, and your sister's main memory of him was him trying to rape her."
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 2:58, Reply)
Grandma's sex
The presiding priest was furtively reading from some "how to conduct a funeral service" manual that left the sex of the deceased indeterminate: (he/she), depending on the situation. The indecisive priest scrambled grandma's sex so many times, after awhile, even I was confused.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 1:55, Reply)
It was the funeral of the bloke who invented the Hokey Cokey the other day.
It was all going so well, until they lifted him into the coffin. They put his left leg in, and thats where the trouble started.
(, Sat 13 May 2006, 0:17, Reply)
When my dad died
it was fcuked up all around. I was informed by telephone he had died, but I had just come from serving at a funeral at church. I thought my sister in law was talking about that Richard instead of my dad Richard and I managed to be completely snarky with "Who the hell cares?" Since I was serving tea and cake, it took me a while to clean up the church hall. I came out much later to the car park to find a ticket on the windshield. Thanks.

Then my 4 brothers told me I couldn't be a pallbearer but my brother's best friends could. This led to a huge shouty feminist fit and bad feelings all around. My stepmother picked a coffin so small (he weighed 350 lbs) his elbows were shoved up onto his tummy and we had to piss and moan to get the right size. Then at the viewing (do you have viewing in the UK? The body sits at the funeral home for hours and friends and relatives come by to look at each other and make awkward conversation. It's boring and/or nasty) my half aunt by marriage who loves to be the center of attention made a big fuss about his colouring. This resulted in pancake makeup smeared so thickly over his face it caked in his hair. He looked awful. Thanks.

My mom tried to be gracious to my stepmother but they were icily snarky to each other. It took eight of us to carry him and I stupidly wore high heels to the wet graveside. I stumbled and thought we might drop the coffin. Thanks.

And the very best is that despite my father's assurances "all you kids will be well taken care of; there's quite a tidy sum tucked away when I die" none of us have heard a peep from my stepmother about a will or any inheritance. She's told us she'll give our 100 year old family home to her spendthrift son. Thanks.
(, Fri 12 May 2006, 23:46, Reply)
Is it just me
or are about 90% of these posts about cremations? Does no-one go for the old 'bung in a box and fed to the worms' malarky anymore? Is there no more room six feet under?

As for myself, to really be remembered after I'm gone, forget diamonds that'll end up in some dusty pawn-shop in 80 years, I'm gonna get me STUFFED. And probably put in one of my mate's attics. Simply to scare his grandkids.

That or plasticamaficatedifyed (Sp?)
(, Fri 12 May 2006, 23:41, Reply)
The lowering of my grandmother's coffin was
accompanied by the happy tune of an icecream van near by.
(, Fri 12 May 2006, 23:00, Reply)
7 Funerals In A Month
1.Foster dad
2.Grandad (mums side)
3.Foster mums sister
4.Foster mums mum
5.Grandma (mums side)
6.Foster mums dad
7.Foster dads brothers wife

Well i got to the 7th funeral that fucked up month and we had had the same vicar dude for everyone, n what is the first thing he says to me?

"Hello, back again? I think your starting to attend church more than me, you really must like it here"
You know i truly do wish i was lying
(, Fri 12 May 2006, 21:39, Reply)
harsh on reflection
When we were about 14-15 we were put in charge of feeding our friends rabbit when they went away on holiday, one day we went only to find poor flopsy (or some such shitty name) cold and very still in the bottom of his cage, id like to point out that we did feed him regularly and we had no part in his death, only his funeral. For a bit of lighthearted fun we gave him a mock send off including a the obligatory burial only with a twist of teenage evil humour, we buried him about a foot deep with a brick marking the spot on which we wrote his name and date of death as a kind of headstone, with its ears sticking out the ground, funny as fuck!! although my friends dad didnt find it so amusing when he had to dig up a half decomposed rabbit and bury it again covering its ears.
(, Fri 12 May 2006, 20:48, Reply)
the only reason I cried
at my friend's dad's wake was because we were sitting in the corner of the room and I reminded them about how his dad had retired to the garden shed to peel the onions for his special pickles. My mate and our spouses were roaring with laughter and telling more and more outragious stories.

I did not cry at my dad's funeral October 2004 but I went for a walk in "our" woods last month and said my private goodbyes, that was when I was avle to cry for him for the first time.
(, Fri 12 May 2006, 20:39, Reply)
When I was about 10...
...my dad came to pick us up from a birthday party. There I was merrily jumping on a bouncy castle and my dad shouts out, "Hands up who has a great nan." Of course, me and bruv stick our hands up with a couple of others, and dad says "Not so fast you two..." Thats how I found out I was going to my first funeral....
(, Fri 12 May 2006, 20:38, Reply)

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