Wednesday, October 22, 2008


1. Which is the best funeral you ever visited?
2. Which is the worst funeral you ever visited?

In my 34 years, I've only ever been to one funeral that I can remember: my grandmother's. It was so-so. I was sad, and it was good to have a ceremony to say goodbye to her, but they had hired an orator who didn't know her, and it all felt much too anonymous, not like her. I remember my grandfather crying and crying, a man who had always been so controlled. He died half a year later, but I didn't go to his funeral.

3. Did you make any plans for your own funeral?

Yes, I do. I recently read a post about preparing an "in case of..." box on (a wonderful site for tidy, organized people). That's something I will prepare in the near future: a box that contains everything my relations need to know and do in case I die. I haven't thought about the funeral itself all that much. I'd go with Brett in saying that I would want it to be a celebration of my life, with people telling stories about me. I have thought about what music I would like, and a couple of songs from The Beatles' White Album have come to me:

I Will
Martha My Dear
Honey Pie
Rocky Raccoon

While lycrics-wise, not all of them seem appropriate, I love each and every one of them dearly and think that they convey a sober, yet fun mood.

4. What are your thoughts on burial in the soil versus cremation?

Cremation for sure. After having - if possible - donated organs and body tissue (I carry my donor pass with me all the time). In Germany, you can have an "anonymous burial" which means that you are buried in a grassy area at the back of the cemetary, but without a gravestone. I don't want a burial site as I have learned from several people that while they can be good for having a place to say goodbye, they also cost a lot of money. And really, I would want people to remember me in their own way, in memories and gifts and thoughts, not standing on a cemetary. Alternatively, there is now something called "Ruheforst" where you can be buried in a forest. I would like that, too.

5. And finally: Isn't it just odd that the word funeral starts with fun...? What are your thoughts on the very word? And what is the word for funeral in your language, if your first language isn't English?

Yes, that is odd. I like the word, and I also like the expression "funeral home". There is a wonderful comic by Alison Bechdel called "Fun Home" in which she writes and draws about her childhood. Her father owned a funeral home which her and her brother called fun home. In my language, the words for a funeral are much more sober: there is "Begräbnis" which comes from graben, to dig, meaning that you will be dug into the ground, and there is "Beerdigung", which comes from Erde, the soil, meaning pretty much the same thing. Once again, English has the better expression *sigh*.

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