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Sunday, February 5, 2017

My Funeral Letter

It's possibly morbid to think about ones own funeral. Or maybe it's super considerate? I get a lot of time to think about my own funeral because as a church organist I 'work' at a lot of them. There are several songs I am asked again and again to play. They are nice songs. They are familiar songs. I have been known to jokingly say "I want super obscure music at my funeral"...

I sing Amazing Grace to my children every day. I love Amazing Grace, but please don't play it at my funeral. It's a truly lovely funeral song, but I want to be different. Many years ago when my daddy was still living he would tell me that being normal was overrated. Those were the days when I wanted to fit in as a tween and teen. It wouldn't be until years after his death that I would fully understand the truth in his words. Even in my death, I would like to be as abnormal as possible.

I hope I see 100 years, many grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I am not writing this letter because my end is near, I am writing it because I know there is no end for me as a child of God. Is it weird? I suppose...but again - I'm not striving for normal.

Dear Family,

If you've been crying. Please stop. Don't cry for me. I've been praying for this day my entire life. I'm missing you terribly, but I'm getting your heavenly rooms ready for you. We will be together again and for eternity. Nothing can stop my love for you.

To my kids - remember those Sunday mornings when you were little? Remember those stern looks over the top of the organ? Remember asking me why it mattered if you prayed or listened? I hope you've come to realize that it's ALL that mattered. Brushing your teeth, cleaning your rooms, learning to read...none of those things mattered as much as your faith. I still can't imagine anything worse than being separated from someone you love. I prayed before I met you and every day since then. I am still praying for your your faith, your safety, and those you love.

I want to help others even in my death. Please donate what you can. Yes, body parts too...if there's someone in need of a coat, give them mine. If there's someone in need of a heart, give them mine. Take care of those around you and make sure to take care of one another. Don't stop getting together just because I'm not around to make those phone calls. If you miss my stories, stop at a nursing home and find another old woman who needs to share her stories. If you miss my baking, whip up a batch of cookies and share them with your friends and neighbors. When you smell those cookies baking, know I am just a heartbeat away.

Be grateful. Be grateful for everything you have and things you don't have. Living a life of gratitude will make you smile even in the darkest days. Be grateful for one another too - you each have special strengths and talents. Be kind to one another now and always. Talk to one another once a week whenever possible. Laugh. Even if you are laughing AT me...laugh. Laugh about my inability to keep the tupperware organized. Laugh about how I crashed the minivan without even leaving the house. Work hard. It builds character. Don't avoid the things in life that seem hard. They'll bring you the most satisfaction.

I'll see you soon. This is not goodbye.


Here's a few specifics I want you to know:

1) I want to be cremated if for no other reason than it was good enough for my daddy

2) I don't want some service at a funeral home. I was baptized at church, I was married at church, and you know darn well I want a church service

3) There's no need for a flowery obituary. The people that need to know I've gone to heaven know everything they need to know about me. I don't need a bunch of strangers scrutinizing my life and death. You can let people know I'm gone, but for heaven's sake don't spend hours trying to write the next great American Novel. If you want to write a Novel about me, go ahead....but don't disguise it as an obituary.

4) Have some really REALLY good food after the church service. None of that fake ham, skim milk, or decaf coffee...give thanks for my heavenly home and serve up some delicious green bean casserole, turkey, mashed potatoes (real of course), corn casserole, pumpkin pie, chocolate chip cookies, fresh bread, and do it up right like it's Thanksgiving Day. Tell stories and laugh while you eat all the delicious food. Remember the story about the first Thanksgiving I had with the Otto's? When the turkey wouldn't brown and I nearly hollered at the patient and amazing Mr Otto? Tell that story at my funeral luncheon. Make everyone go around and talk about what they are thankful for...I know you hate doing that, but it always made me so happy. Someone stand up and say "at least the lights are still on" and remember the early years when we weren't so sure about that from month to month.

5) Include some of my obscure hymns please?

- Make Songs of Joy
- Faith and Truth and Life Bestowing
- Come unto Me, Ye Weary
- I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

6) Find some good scripture verses. Yes, I love the 23rd Psalm, but there may be some people who don't often get into church. There's other Psalms that are just as lovely and not quite as popular. Take a look at Psalm 61, Psalm 90, and Isaiah 40:3-8.

Everything else is going to work itself out. It really will. There will be days you'll miss me and days you'll pick up the phone to call and then realize there are no phones in heaven. I've been in your shoes. It means I mattered to you and be grateful we had that kind of relationship.

I had such an amazing life; thank you for being part of that.


1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent idea! I laughed and got teary and I don't even know you. Ha!