When we die, does God let us go to our own funerals? I sure hope so. I would love to see what people really think of me. Although, nobody ever says anything bad about someone at their funeral, so it wouldn’t really be an accurate representation of what I’m really like, and people who don’t like me wouldn’t come to my funeral anyway. But maybe that’s best. Do I really want all my flaws discussed in vivid detail right in front of me? It would be interesting, and maybe even helpful, but it would mostly just make me cry…even if I was dead (do we cry when we’re dead?).
I don’t know if I want to wait until I’m dead to find out what people think of me, and hopefully that will be a long time from now. I would love to pull a “Tom Sawyer” and stage my own death just so I could see what people would say at my funeral. I would be curious what people remembered about me and/or liked about me. And who doesn’t want to hear how great they are?
When my mom’s dad died, it bugged her that all of a sudden he was perfect in everyone’s eyes, and he suddenly had no flaws. One of my regrets in life is that I focused too much on my dad’s flaws. The day before he died I called him a jerk. We had been playing basketball at the church, and me being the overly sensitive twit that I am, I got all offended at something I don’t even remember. In all reality, he probably was being a jerk, but now that he’s dead he has no flaws, remember? Of course my dad was flawed, as we all are. But when he died, I suddenly didn’t want to talk about his flaws anymore. All I wanted to remember about him was how wonderful he was (which he was). And once our loved ones leave this world, as a friend of my mom’s said, we finally see them as God sees them.
One thing I hear at funerals, that I desperately want to hear at my own funeral, assuming I will be attending, is how kind the person is. I would love to be remembered for being kind, thoughtful, and selfless. The reality, however, is that I am often impatient and selfish, especially in regards to my own family, as is evidenced by the above example with my dad. Why is it that we are nicer to strangers than to the people we love?
I think we do go to our own funerals. I hope my dad was at his. I want him to have heard all the good things we said about him that we didn’t always say when he was alive (what a shame!). I also hope he appreciated the humor in the situation. I don’t remember what the humor WAS in that situation but I do remember my sisters and I laughing hysterically at the viewing. It was partly nervous energy, partly not knowing how to deal with grief, partly being the daughters of a dead comedian (it’s in our DNA), but mostly reminiscing about how funny he was. He must have been laughing too. After his death we found a box of 3×5 cards with jokes that he had written on them. And wouldn’t you know it, he made fun of funerals. That helped us feel a little less guilty about laughing during the viewing.
And now, for your reading pleasure, here are a few of my dad’s “funeral jokes”:
Have you ever noticed that every guy who ever died was a loving father and a dedicated family man?
If I’m “Pleasingly Plump,” is someone who has died “Serenely Stiff?”
Stupid things you hear at funerals: –Doesn’t he just look like himself? (Well, there’s a surprise) -This is just what he would have wanted. (You don’t think he would have wanted to live a few more years?)
Most people look better dead than alive: hair perfect, lips glued together in a smile. If they don’t glue ’em you get something like this (face). Of course they do have something to smile about–they no longer have to put up with their loved ones. Plus they no longer have to fear death. They’re already there! Out there in the great wide beyond–the great unkown–maybe it’s not so great. Come to think of it–maybe it’s not so wide and that could be a problem for some of us. I mean, even if the guy’s gone to Hell, he’s over the worst. He’s been processed. Given the tour. Shown his quarters. Met the devil. He’s already started to adjust.
Just an observation: Did you ever notice that the first 3 letters of the word funeral spell FUN?
I hope that when I die, everyone remembers the good in me and forgets the bad. And that they laugh a little, knowing I won’t mind at all, and hopefully I’ll be able to laugh along with them, even if they can’t hear me. Because after all, FUN is what FUNerals are all about, right?