Thursday, November 27, 2008


1. Which is the best funeral you ever visited?

My high school music conductor was such a sour puss. It took very little to shake his good mood and leave him snappy, overly critical and just plain harsh. Now when he was in a good mood, he was very jovial and could pontificate on just about any subject...and did. I think he was always that way, but later figured at least some of the moodiness was a result of his fight with HIV/AIDS. It was a fight he eventually lost, but in the process he learned to open up more and many of us became very close to him. His service was in a large beautiful church in San Francisco. A small group of us were asked to perform at the funeral, playing excerpts from his favorite musical piece...Phantom of the Opera. It was amazing. We made him proud that day, and each of us who performed felt a bond with him we never knew existed until that moment. That moody angry passionate man left quite the impression on all of us. He is definitely missed!

2. Which is the worst funeral you ever visited?

When you live halfway around the world from the vast majority of your extended family, there are a lot of “worst” funerals. People you love dearly that you really only knew from phone conversations and stories your parents told you. The unexpected ones, especially in war time...those hurt the most. We would have wakes on our side of the world and there was always a great deal of pain, crying, screaming. Death is something out of any family member’s control, but it’s definitely compounded when you are so far away when it happens.

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

Nope. Maybe everyone can go miniature golfing in my honor and have some pizza afterwards. But they’ll be ok. I’ll keep an eye on them from wherever I am!

4. What are your thoughts on burial in the soil versus cremation? Which is better? Which is better for you? (And did you hear about the Swedish method, not yet sanctioned, where the body and the casket is frozen very very cold, and then vibrated into a powder...? Apparently very friendly for the environment.)

Bury me. Don’t know why, but returning to the earth just sounds nice. The only Swedish method I use is massage related...and I definitely sanction that. Yes, I make jokes. J We laugh to keep from crying!

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?

Phonetically I think it’s something like “Maurasam”. And “Mau” doesn’t mean fun. In general, I think lots of words are weird. And sometimes, a word you use your whole life sounds fine until one day you stop and think about it and realize it is just totally strange. I think I put “funeral” in that category.

No comments: