It’s the one event of your life over which you have no control. While you may be the main attraction you are no longer in a position to direct activities, control the audience or influence the speeches.
Your funeral is left in the hands of those you leave behind.
Don’t panic, I’m not leaving this earth anytime soon, I’m not even sick, well except for this sinus problem, a tendency to migraine, a mysterious pain in my side, a certain lack of Vitamin B, an arthritis-like pain in my hands, a dodgy back … but according to the doctor I’M FINE. So when I keel over from the brain tumour or appendicitis, or … well you get the picture – when that happens you need to let her know I WAS SICK.
All right dispensing with my tendency to hypochondria, you get to the last curtain call, and you just have to trust your near and dear will get the job done right.
Over at The Drum yesterday Jane Hutcheon had a piece on the eulogy of The Reverend Canon Boak Alexander Jobbins. Apparently his son decided to acknowledge that dad wasn’t perfect and relayed a loving but realistic eulogy. Jane debated if a eulogy should present truth or just the edited highlights of a person’s life and personality. Can you tell the mourners there were times when Grandpa was right royal pain in the bum? Or is it mandatory to gloss over the unattractive and focus just on the good?
In the event of my demise I believe my daughters will DO THE RIGHT THING. Look here, I’ll offer a helping hand and give them a start (girls this blog post needs to be bookmarked NOW).
Our mother was a loving and kind woman who sacrificed everything for her family … her career, her figure, her sanity … it all went. Yet there was no bitterness from her. She was a woman of endless patience, who never raised her voice or uttered a cross word. Dedicated to her children she worked tirelessly to support them through their various endeavours, without a single word of complaint about the driving, hours spent waiting in cars for training to end or watching musical recitals featuring little music. Mum was always present, always ready to drop everything to listen to our worries, offering well-thought out, helpful advice. A woman of talent and humour she will be greatly missed.
That is how you remember your mother.
The idea of my children taking to the pulpit to deliver a TRUE picture of our life, well that’s horrifying.
Our mother was a woman who liked to remind us constantly that before children she had been a size 10. A woman who spent most mornings yelling unnecessary instructions at us – obviously we had to put on our shoes before going to school and we would have got round to it eventually even without her constant nagging!
A frustrated wannabe writer our mother took advantage of our childhood to plaster our lives on the internet. Like rats in a science lab every move we made was recorded on the dreaded BLOG in a blatant attempt at improving her stats.
Distracted for most of our lives Mum had a tendency to robotic replies that bore no relation to the conversation taking place “Mum I’ve just chopped off my little finger”, “Yes dear the biscuits are in the pantry”.
Mum’s lack of housekeeping skills were a sight to behold, the house resembling a bio-hazard zone dangerous for anyone who hadn’t been raised there and developed the necessary immunity. At one point Mum was burgled, the police commented “geeze they did this place over good and proper” Mum didn’t enlighten them.
A woman of inconsistency, we could enjoy a week of gourmet dinners from the Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook only to be followed by a week of beans on toast ’cause she had worn herself out with the shopping and preparation the week before and now couldn’t be bothered.
Mum liked to issue frequent reminders about the time she dedicated to our after-school activities “good lord do you people realise how much time I spend in this car? I’m growing old and dying here while I sit waiting for you to dawdle across the oval. I’ve got dinner to cook you know – those baked beans aren’t going to heat themselves!” Well yes growing old and dying she was. We will remember her tendency to exaggeration, her ability to live in a fantasy world that completely ignored the reality of her life and her refusal to accept that life would be easier if she just stopped dreaming.
See people nobody benefits from the truth.