I couldn’t write because it was so cold my pencils froze. Is that an acceptable excuse?
The good thing about sub-zero temperatures is when the temperature goes up. Today the temperature went up to just above zero Celsius (32 Fahrenheit). Wow! What a heat wave! Zero Celsius is a heat wave compared to -35 Celsius (-31 Fahrenheit).
During the cold spell, I went to my high-school friend’s funeral. He had shed his mortal coil before Christmas, but the funeral was not until January 6.
(I have noticed a relationship between death and funerals. Almost every time someone dies, there is a funeral. This isn’t a coincidence.)
My friend’s funeral was mostly nice, but the presiding minister ruined the mood by carrying on and on and on. This is common for religious leaders to use a funeral as an opportunity to preach to the heathen. Why can’t these religious leaders realize that funerals are about the deceased and not about God? People come to honor the deceased. They do not come to hear how great God is, or how they better accept Jesus as their savior or else it’s Hell for Eternity.
My friend was the star of the show with God and Jesus having supporting roles. But the minister ruined the show by making God and Jesus stars and giving my friend a supporting role. The funeral was upbeat and moving with several people speaking words from their hearts. Some read from The Bible. Amongst the speakers were my friend’s son and daughter who gave a wonderful loving tribute to their father. What a positive note the funeral would have ended on if it had ended after the son and daughter’s tribute. Nope. The minister started preaching about God and Jesus and God and Jesus and God and Jesus blah, blah, blah . . . She had forgotten that people had come not to be preached at.
And while the minister went on and on and on, I wondered whether my friend was watching from above and thinking, “Is she going to stop soon?”
(I would have posted this blog yesterday, but the Toronto Public Library’s Internet had not thawed out from the cold snap.)
It is done. My daughters have powers of attorney. They can act on my behalf should I become incapacitated. If they decide to leave me hooked up to machines, then that’s okay. If they decide to pull the plug, then that’s okay.
“But what do you want, Dad?” they ask.
“I want you to do whatever will make you feel better. That’s what I want.”
The same thoughts apply to my funeral. I have certain wishes, but they are only guidelines and do not have to be followed. My daughters have to carry on without me. If my funeral wishes make them uncomfortable, then they can change them and not feel guilty.
I have mentioned before how a deceased’s funeral arrangements have caused his or her loved ones more stress. They don’t agree with the arrangements, but go along with them out of guilt. For example, no sadness or crying. The loved ones try hard not to be sad and cry, but cannot help breaking down. And then they feel guilty. Why not allow our loved ones to grieve the way that makes them feel better?
It’s okay for sadness and crying at my funeral. (The income tax people will be weeping the most. Another taxpayer bites the dust.) It’s okay for joy and laughter. Anything goes. It is a FUNeral. I won’t care because I will be too busy trying to dodge the huge flames.
A long time ago I made a deal with Fate. It was so long ago that I don’t remember the terms of the deal, but I embrace these terms no matter what they are.
“Nice to see you again. Too bad it was under these circumstances.”
That’s all I heard at Aunt Marie’s funeral. All of us in attendance rarely see each other except at funerals.
“Nice to see you again . . . ” is often followed by, “We should get together sometime.”
“Yes, we should.”
Everyone says this, but usually no one ever gets together. And then another funeral happens and “Nice to see you again . . . “
Besides seeing people I haven’t seen in years, how nice to see both of my daughters at the same time. At the gravesite, I had my arms around my daughters the way I used to hold them when they were little girls. Gawd that felt good! They used to call it a daddy sandwich. The minister went on and on at the gravesite, but I didn’t care. I could have held my girls forever!
There was a reception after the funeral. We ate finger foods and drank soft drinks during our light conversations. When people left the reception to return to a life without Aunt Marie, they said, “Nice to see you again. Too bad it was under these circumstances “
I have mentioned before how Aunt Marie always smiled no matter what.
I never saw Aunt Marie angry. I never heard Aunt Marie complain. She always smiled and was always pleasant. The recurring words, at her funeral today, were about her glowing smile and pleasant disposition despite her serious illnesses.
Some people reporting about their near-death experiences say how they rose out of their bodies, and unconditional love and eternal peace surrounded them. They wanted to stay out of their bodies, but a voice said, “Go back. It’s not your time yet.” How disappointed they were when back in their bodies. They said that their bodies were like prisons. They longed for freedom, and no longer feared death.
Aunt Marie suffered all those years with various illnesses, operations and finally cancer. Not once did she complain. She always smiled and was pleasant. This is what she was like with her failing body. Can you imagine the glowing smile on Aunt Marie’s face now that she is free of her failing body, and surrounded by unconditional love and eternal peace?
From my perspective, I will miss Aunt Marie. But from her perspective, she has never felt better.
Years ago, I read a Buddhist Saying in a book. I don’t remember the name of the book. I googled the saying and found different versions of it from various sources. I’m not sure of the source, but the version I read said,
“When we are born, we cry and the world rejoices. When we die, the world cries and we rejoice.”
Nothing kills the joyful mood at a funeral more than the minister reading from The Bible. After the minister finishes the reading, he or she says, “May these words comfort you.” Never—Never!—have I felt comforted after hearing passages from The Bible. Nor do I know of anyone who said that they felt better hearing biblical passages at a funeral.
I tune out waiting for The Bible reading to end. I tune in when a family member or friend, of the deceased, gets up and tries to stay composed while speaking words from the heart. These words are alive! Now I am moved. Now I am comforted.
Of course the deceased isn’t paying much attention. He or she is no longer weighed down by a body, and is free to soar and enjoy the Peace and Unconditional Love.
“When we are born, we cry and the world rejoices. When we die, the world cries and we rejoice.”
For sure Dominic knows what happens after the body dies. It’s been a week since he let his body go. Yesterday (March 4) was his funeral.
The priest killed the joyful mood at Dominic’s funeral by reading passages from The Bible. After he finished reading these passages he said, “May God’s words comfort you.” I was not comforted. I had tuned out waiting for the reading to end. I imagined Dominic had tuned out, too. Now free of his sick, failing body, Domenic continued to bask in the Unconditional Love permeating the Universe. What comfort did he need from The Bible?
How comforting when Dominic’s nephew Michael got up and spoke about his uncle. Michael spoke words from his heart, and his words went to my heart. The same thing happened when Dominic’s friend Garry got up to speak. Garry’s words went from his heart to my heart.
I cried during these heartfelt eulogies, but my tears soothed me. I laughed, too, when Michael and Garry said funny things. I’m sure Dominic approved of the laughter.
People applauded after Michael and Garry spoke. No one applauded after hearing passages from The Bible.
By the way, Dominic never believed in an afterlife. I bet he does now.
I have been to several funerals where the loved one had left specific instructions that his or her funeral was to be a happy occasion, a celebration with joy and laughter and No Tears Allowed. What a strain these instructions put on family and friends! They had to fight hard to hold back tears so they could honor the wishes of the dead.
At one time I, too, thought how I wanted no tears at my funeral. I wanted only laughter, jokes and joy. Seeing the pressure this wish puts on people has made me change my mind. Telling people that they should feel a certain way is not right. What is right is for people to feel how they feel no matter what the occasion.
When my body becomes a corpse and I am elsewhere celebrating my Lightness of Being, it is okay for people to cry at my funeral. It is also okay for people to laugh and joke and do silly things. Anything goes. People can do whatever they have to do to cope with their feelings.
As for the service? I have no religious affiliations. I believe in a God far beyond the violent, vengeful, jealous character in The Bible. God loves unconditionally, and there isn’t a place in the Universe where God is not. How arrogant for the clergy to feel they have to perform certain rights and ask God to accept a person’s soul otherwise the soul is lost. Why would God need to accept what was always part of God and always will be? (Imagine a person dies on a Monday, and the funeral is on the following Friday. What is God going to say to this person on Monday, “Sorry, I can’t accept you until Friday when Father O’ Fitzinfarter conducts the service.”?)
The service can be whatever my friends and relatives want. Again, anything goes. If they want to give me an Orthodox Jewish funeral because I am circumcised, then so be it. I won’t care and it won’t matter. Death will slow down my reaction time. Several centuries will pass by the time I realize that someone said or did something I did not like.
I am not planning on going soon. But when I do go, I hope all enjoy my FUNeral.
Dominic died on September 10. His funeral will be on September 18. At his funeral, a priest will ask God to accept Dominic’s soul. Does that mean that on September 10 God told Dominic, “Sorry, Dominic, but I can’t accept you yet. I have to wait until I hear from the priest at your funeral.” ?
Referring to the near-death experience, people report that the White Light instantly surrounded them with unconditional love. The White Light did this without instructions from any human being. This cannot be right according to religious dogma. How can the White Light unconditionally love and accept a soul without the approval of a priest?
Dominic, I know your soul is not stuck for something to do until your funeral. It is your choice if it is. Why would you make such a choice? You would not. Right now you are enjoying your new perspective. After all, death is only a change in perspective. Peace.
The minister at a funeral started the service reading passages from The Bible — mostly Jesus’ words. When finished the minister said, “May these words comfort you.”
They did not. We were not comforted. We had sat dead still while God’s worn-out words limped out of the minister’s mouth and died on the floor. The minister’s monotone voice did not help. The room was dead.
Then the deceased’s son got up to speak.
“I’m going to be strong,” he said, “and try to get through this without breaking down.”
(What kind of world do we live in where it is a sign of strength not to cry in public?)
The deceased’s son spoke from the heart. The son’s words flowed, and soon so did his tears. He praised his father, and spoke about his father’s love. The son soon broke down and cried. His brothers and sisters got up to hold and support him. The son finished his eulogy with his siblings’ support.
How moving! The room had risen from the dead! No one had to say, “May these words comfort you.” We were comforted — ever so comforted! Hearing the passionate and heartfelt words of a son for his father did more to comfort us than any words the minister said.