Funerals Aren’t Supposed to be Fun… Are They?

by M-Gillies

Movies about funerals such as Death at a Funeral or funeral scenes in movies such as The Big Chill have brought some much needed humor to a usually bleak event.

“Was Uncle Oscar’s death very untimely, you ask? Well, it was near lunch.”, Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker from All in the Family

One of the greatest traits of the human species is our fondness for humor. Moments of hilarity, bouts of laughter, the glimpse of a smile, the knee-slapping, belly-grabbing, double-overing of comedy has for years acted as medication to ease us into a sense of security and comfort. It doesn’t matter if someone prefers slapstick comedy, intellectual humor, gallows wit or trivial irony, humor has a strange way of placating our ailments, which is probably why so many of us have taken to poking fun at death, and often our own demise.

As Yogi Berra always said, “Always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise they won’t go to yours.”

Recently, however, there’s been quite a phenomenon happening, especially in the last two decades. That sombre affair known as the traditional funeral; the black suited gathering with the standard arrangement of casket and flower sprays, and mournful onlookers seems to be deviating away from its norm.

For those who work well within the industry, it seems that personalized funerals are starting to catch on and as the years continue, it’s beginning to look like they are not a passing trend. If cinematic works like Six Feet Under, Death at a Funeral, Get Low and Dead Like Me have shown, death and even funerals can be humorous. While the comparison can be made that these are fictional realities where the laws of make-believe only apply, the truth is, they aren’t a far cry from current funerals.

After passing away at the age of 22, Claire Whitehead’s family and friends honored her passing by dressing up as Disney characters. It had been Whitehead’s dream to visit Disneyland, however, with her passing in April 2011 from a cancerous brain tumor, family and friends decided to bring Disneyland to her.

For Jerome Miller, a life-long drag racer, his final wish was to burn some rubber at the drag strip for one last spin, and after he died, he did just that, with the Cadillac hearse in which his body was transported. On the way to the service, it made a minor detour to a racetrack, where family members shared the spectacle from the grandstands.

And then there’s Lonnie Holloway, whose final wish was to be buried in his 1973 Pontiac Catalina with the entirety of his gun collection. After his death at age 90, his final wish was granted.

So why can’t funerals be fun? Who’s to say if a funeral is in bad taste, especially when it was the guest of honor’s final wish? We all know that the day will come when we take the proverbial dirt nap, and as we pass away we leave behind our loved ones and friends.

“They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad to realize that I’m going to miss mine by just a few days”, American author Garrison Keillor once said.

It’s only natural that these people who’ve grown to adore and cherish our presence mourn our passing, so why not make it as easy for them as possible and have a funeral service that urges them to have fun and lets them know that you were ready. Of course they will miss you, but a funeral chosen by the one it’s intended for makes the grieving process easier for families when it comes to celebrating a life rather than mourning a death.

“It’s funny how most people love the dead; once you’re dead, you’re made for life.” Jimi Hendrix.

Read more:

http://mysendoff.com/2011/12/celebrating-the-life-you-lived/

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