Today at Mass we had an elderly Parishioner to bury, who had no mourners.
Empty pews at the front.
It was a stark statement that the little man had been married, had no family, his wife had died, and once he went into a nursing home he became forgotten about by any contacts.
but you know what, the Priest still read a Eulogy at the Homily, 6 hefty Parishioners carried him out, all of my choir sang him out of the Church, and his attendees were the Parishioners.
It was a very poignant statement, and yet a very strong statement of Community.
But i have spoken so much about it since this morning , and was very glad that he got as fullsome (if more lonely) a farewell as any one else would have.
i got to thinking…
about my funeral.
not in a macabre grim mortality way!
but i don’t want a lot of drama.
i HATE when a priest rhymes out a chronology of the person’s life…i 1975 she changed the car. in 1977 she met the man of her dreams….i HATE that! And i have heard too many of those and grated my teeth as i listened to the formulated farewell.
i also strongly object to being buried by a man who clearly has “done his homework” – and reads the list of names, and items about your most significant events, with scraps of information fed to him third hand. Am always aware – and on my more crotchety days tempted to point out that all of the mourners could do a better , more personal reminiscence than that bland blurb!
I do know that as i work directing a church choir i have friends who are priests, but i have a twisted sense of annoyance at the funerals where there are enough clergy on the altar to vote in a Pope for some funerals, and some quiet good living little people get one. So I would like a personal friend to do the service – and any other attendees, can sit down way to the side…no big holy show.
I am sure if i am still connected with the choir, they will sing me out. And that will be lovely – and G (the organist from the cathedral across the road…our Cross-community neighbours) will play and direct the choir.
Now since i have such strong feelings about what i don’t want as my Eulogy, it seems an easy opt out if i don’t know what i do want. So it just struck me, if you actually had to write your own Eulogy would you live any differently? But anyhow before i go off on a tangent….
- no big accolades…it’s not a time for writing a CV!
- no big pretentious crap about my life being perfect.
- no time to be a pillar of society
- respect is earned NOT an entitlement that comes with a qualification
- i am musically talented – reference will have to be paid – but make it in a way that it was the gift of music and that it made a difference to others
- not the major events i performed at, the prodigious pupils i produced…more the fact that I played a part in Community life.
- i want NOT to have my health conditions listed like a shopping list, but maybe comment on the fact that i did the best i could despite challenging health – and took part in local life because i wanted to.
- that i have raised 4 children. NOT defined by their degrees or achievements, but 4 very different children who have very different strengths and qualities…maybe at this stage drop in a wee final reminder from me, that “if you treat people nicely, they will treat you nicely…so pay it forward – do what you can to help others” Let that be my legacy to them.
- maybe let the kids know i would have tried to change the world for each one of them! (and tried many many times)
- i was always honest. i was direct and you knew where you stood with me…to be honest i think that the world would be a better place if we all did a bit more of that.
- that i didn’t have time for small talk, and stuff that i din’t have any interest in, i was able to say NO to.
- that yes…i finally agree…my husband is a Saint. …..so many years of living with me, and looking after me, and i love him for it…and we are very opposite people. He is as laid down as i am wound up…maybe that’s a tip for successful partnership.
- that i judged people as i found them. not by who they were, what they were, how qualified they were, what faith they were, what car they drove, what house they had…but how decent they were.
- that i never was bound by rules. I have a pic n mix faith – and in my opinion am a Christian person in how i live, not what sacraments i attend.
- that i never lived a flawless life – there were people i matched up to head on – but NOT without cause…and rarely was the cause for personal gain, it was for better health care for all, better standard of education for all, fair treatment of disabilities…and yes i locked horns with many” big wigs”- and enjoyed every minute of it. But was motivated by injustice…maybe i should have lived during the crusades! lol
- there were people who i drew the line in the sand with nd said enough. people i shut out of my life. That i feel no guilt about. was not a decision i would have made lightly, but was always to protect myself and my family. But i make no final dramatic apology for living by my beliefs.
- So basically, i did my best…i hope that was enough.
- i Hope i was a friend as i valued mine.
so there you go…
pick n mix in life, pick n mix in death….
so as i look through the list, i don’t have to dramatically do a Paul on the road to Damascus conversion. I just keep trying my best for the people i love and care for.
and maybe on my headstone…..TWITTER SERVICE INTERRUPTED 🙂