Keith and I went to a friends, mother’s funeral today. It was a couple of hour drive so we had a bit of time to talk about, our funerals and our ideas of an ideal funeral for ourselves. Of course the irony in planning your own funeral, you won’t be there to enjoy it, or know if those alive have followed through with your request, and I really doubt we will care much at that point either 😉
The funeral we attended was in a nice smaller town Methodist church. This lady was truly loved, the church was almost full, the family came in and filled about 6 rows. This church was fairly old, it was a ‘1st’, the stain glassed windows were beautiful and the wooden pews made me feel in ‘church’, instead of a theater, as I do now in our newly built church. It brought back memories of my grandparents church, another 1st Methodist, in Anson TX. It IS a beautiful OLD church. The original church was built in 1908 (more was added when I was about 6) The sanctuary has dark wood floors, that creaked and echoed when you walked down the aisle, dark massive wooden pews, and stained glass windows all around, I loved looking at those windows during the service.
I thought of the funerals I have attended, not a lot, but a few. A few of those too too young to die. When Kirk died I started missing more funerals. It was not that they upset me, or I could not handle them, I just got the idea that the families might rather have their privacy. I think I must have felt that way a bit at Kirk’s funeral. Then I started to realize IF there is a service, it is because the families DO want their loved one to be recognized, it gives a sense of pride to know these people want to ‘honor’ your loved one. I, like so many others, don’t attend the funerals of ‘older people’ as much as I attend the funerals of younger. This is obvious by the standing room only of those very young that die and the empty pews of a 70 yr olds service. I know see how much comfort it brings the spouse of the 70 with hugs and well wishes, and the grown children a sense of pride from the numbers of people who attend the funeral.
Funerals have changed since my grandparents died 30 some odd years ago, from a church service of describing the deceased and giving a quick sermon of faith and hope and maybe an invitation to believe before it is too late, with an optional invitation to attend the graveyard service. It is now a slide show of the deceased, solos and music productions, stories of the deceased from several in the crowd, to a preaching ending with instructions of how to get to the graveside with not much option to miss, with a meal following in the fellowship hall. The graveyard is usually a lengthy preaching and reading all it own, with another long line of hugs and sympathy.
I suppose thinking bout funerals could be morbid to some, but it is just a part of life actually. We do all die. It seems like no one want’s to talk about it. My thought is to have a yearly write up of all the things I would want said to all those I love, rewrite it every year I survive another. Being 50 I am pretty sure I am closer to dying than living. There is a small chance I am only halfway there, but still it is inevitable.
So after a bit of talk I think I like the idea of 1 service, either at the church or at the graveside, not both. I would like headstone, so years later my ancestors can trace me into their tree with ‘Find A Grave. com. Though I do have several pictures of family members graves, and many of those are seasonal pictures of Kirk’s, that mom and dad took, that I have no idea what to do with. Maybe Jesus could take all the worry of this funeral stuff away, and just come on down.