Dying Man’s Daily Journal – who’s funeral is it/who is it for?

The question, who’s funeral is it, or who is it for? Obviously a ridiculous question, right. It is the funeral of and for the person that has passed over, right. But, think about it.
Now I can only speak for myself here. But, I am just an average guy my thoughts may be shared by others.
This body of mine is merely what has housed/contained the essence of me call it my soul or spirit which is the real me. When I pass that essence of me will have moved on. I will no longer be contained within that body. I won’t be there so I honestly for myself don’t care that much, how things are finalized.
Now let’s be clear. I don’t know how all the after life works but while I will not be there physically I do believe I will be there in some sort of spirit for or I will be watching from above. I’ll know that when I get there.
As I am not even going to be there the funeral really isn’t for me. A funeral is for the survivors, those left behind. A place a time hopefully for at least a degree of closure. A time for family and loved ones to gather providing loving mutual support. As I look down from above that is what I will be looking for.
Who is the funeral for, the survivors.
You hear so often as a funeral is being planned one of the biggest worries/stresses of the moment being what would he/she have wanted. Well by making my own arrangements I a taking that stress away. Venue is set, final resting place is set. Music is even picked out for before and after the service. As you are doing this you start wondering/worrying about what would Vi and my daughters want? What could I add that may help them, through that day and to begin the healing with the grieving process.
This is a day for them. At this point the actual service has been left pretty much open.
You may wonder what brought on this endless ramble. Blame blogging friend Mel. Her comment, which I have copied and posted below. Countless times I have encouraged all to not just read my posts but also the comments. If you don’t you are missing out on so much.
Mel’s comment:

Submitted on 2014/07/30 at 10:17 am
I love ya Bill, so I gotta tell ya how tough it was hearing about what “my dad wanted” after G-d took him homw. Undoubtedly different circumstances, different family dynamics, different relationships–people I didn’t particularly respect were telling me “what my dad would want”. And in my head it was just another dose of ‘suck it up and don’t feel what you feel’ at a really, really emotional time in my life.
I know that’s my own ‘stuff’ coming into play, but I felt a need to caution people. As much as I agree with the preplanning I really, really encourage people to have conversations (as in multiples) about this, especially when there are children/young adults who will need guidance and just as much support, preplanned or not–adults too. It’s a physical responsibility that’s taken care of. The emotional bit, you don’t get to preplan–we all need to grieve. There’s no skipping that process. Even if the funeral is celebratory, even if we KNOW it’s coming, even if it was one heck of a send off–people will grieve.
I didn’t want people to get a false sence of what preplanning actually does. It relieves the family of pressured decision making at a horribly, emotionally difficult time. And that’s an excellent thing.

*kicking away the soapbox!!!*

I’m gonna bawl my freaking eyes out when that final post gets put by your wife or daughter.
I just am.
Because you matter to me.
Because I’ll miss here, this, you.
If none of it mattered…..it wouldn’t matter…..but it does cuz you do.

Mel, thank you for raising these excellent points about the pre-planning. As I was doing it, A question formed in my mind. Who’s funeral is this or a better way of putting it may be who is this funeral for? Mel, I am switching my response to a post. I am going to start to ramble here.

3 Responses to Dying Man’s Daily Journal – who’s funeral is it/who is it for?

  1. M T McGuire says:

    There are two points I’d like to make here. First, I agree, you need to talk to your parents – or if you’re a parent you need to talk to your kids – about funeral arrangements. The death of my brother in law, young, prompted some discussions with my Mum and Dad. I now know that there’s one hymn my Mum particularly wants and that both my parents want a requiem mass. As someone on the ground left behind, I do want to make sure the service is something they would have enjoyed as well as providing closure for the rest of us – because it has to reflect the essence of who they are. So it’s getting a balance, what they want and what captures their personalities for as many of those of us who are left as possible. We talk about their potential departure a lot and although it can feel a little macabre, it also feels good to discuss it. It makes the idea less scary.

    Second, kids. I know a lot of people would want to protect the kids from a funeral. Don’t. Wee man is six. When he was four, his uncle died. There is no-one to look after him. My parents were OK to have him but McMini is to young to cope if anything happens to them and they’re both quite frail so it might. McOther’s parents were burying their son (at 49) so they were going to be there. We couldn’t, wouldn’t miss the funeral so there was only one option; McMini had to come with us. We were both very worried about whether we should bring him. I explained to him that we were going to go to a special service to say good bye to his uncle. I explained that some of the adults might cry but that this was OK because they were going to miss Uncle. I explained that he might cry and that was OK too. I told him that if anything frightened him or if he was upset and wanted to leave to let me know and I would take him out.

    He was fine. In fact he was delighted that we’d deemed him adult enough to come with us. He wasn’t upset to see his granny cry. “It was just natural Mum, Uncle was her son.”

    He also said he was glad he got to say goodbye and that he would have felt left out if he hadn’t. So I would add, let the kids come too because they need to say farewell as much as anyone. Even the little ones. It may well be sad but it doesn’t have to be scary. And if it’s treated as a celebration of the person’s life it can be very positive.

    And yeh, go you Bill for planning it out.

    And go Mel for the comment which I second… I’ve been following this blog since May 2006 and like her, I think it’s pretty cool. If there is a reason you’ve been given extra time, Bill, this blog maybe it. It’s something really special.Sorry, bit of a long comment but I hope it’s useful.


    Hi MTM (aka BC). I thank you for sharing this deeply personal time in your life.
    First off, the wee man is 6, wow does time fly..
    I am sorry for your losses. Good for you for including him. Obviously it made him feel good to be included.
    The fact that in our turn we are all going to die is likely the noël thing every single person on this planet has in common. Non of us are going to get out of this alive. I am not talking what lies beyond, I am thinking only of this physical life as we know it.
    Good for you in talking to your parents and to the wee man. Talking about it does not mean it will happen any sooner nor will not talking about it delay it. It just helps us be a little more prepared.
    You talked to the wee man, you explained, you prepared him and then you included him. I think the time spent preparing the children is so important. This you obviously did very well. Good for you.
    I thank you so much for all your support over the years. Some how you came across the blog within a week or so of it’s very beginning and have been here with me ever since. Your ongoing support has and does mean a lot to me thank you.

  2. Twin City Joan says:

    Adding to the comment above. I can tell you from experience that very young children may not have the concept of death but they know the person is gone forever. I was not yet 3 when my father died and, as they did in those days, people told me he was on a trip. I knew he was not coming back. When they buried him, I was left in the car. As things happened, I lost my mother too when I was 16. As an only child, I was sent to live with relatives. They fulfilled their obligations but the bond did not form and I moved on with my life after I grew up. I met a man from my home town and we spent over 40 years together. He had children there and though we visited and I enjoyed being there, I did not go to the cemetery until a couple of years ago to look for my parents graves. He only had a stone in the ground so it was not immediately visible. Yet, 60 years later, I was able to find my fathers grave in about a half hour. Very young kids know. Do not tell them fairy tales. No matter what the “experts” tell you.

    Hi and welcome to the blog. I thank you for taking the time to share your so touching and personal story. I am touched you would share it with us.i am so sorry for your losses and the circumstances.
    Children are so much more aware than we give them credit for being. How often do we brush them off as being too young to understand. Now they may be to young to really understand death and the finality of it all. Even the youngest pick up from the emotions of those around them that something serious or “bad” has happened. I believe they should get age appropriate explanations of it all. Don’t push them to the side lines to speculate and form who knows what thoughts or ideas in their little heads.
    On my blog roll is a site titled hospice. There they have a wealth of information on every aspect of dying, including how to deal with children.
    May I ask, visiting the graves after those years. Did you find it to be therapeutic or any sort of comfort?

    • Twin City Joan says:

      Yes, it was a comfort. I have visited twice since then and have felt good about uncovering my fathers gravestone which was being overtaken by the grass and also was made aware that my mother has no stone for her grave. I will be fixing that. It could not have been easy for her to raise a child they had just adopted after he passed away.

      Thanks for the up date. Glad you are finding it to be a benefit. Hope to be up and about tomorrow and will respond further

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