Requiscat in Pace

18 09 2010

I went to a funeral today. My great-uncle DeVere, died on Tuesday. He was 94. Those of you about to make a joke about Utah Mormon names? He was born in Kansas and raised Southern Baptist. Go ahead and mock the Southern Baptists. They will mess you up.

DeVere was the last of that generation in my family, which makes me sad. At the same time, I know he’s been reunited with his sweetheart.You know the cute little old couples you see who still hold hands and dote on each other? They were that couple, and now they’re holding hands again, which makes me a little teary and sentimental and very happy for them.

Funerals with this side of the family are fantastic. They’re more like wakes, but without the liquor. (Unless something happened after I left…anyone going to ‘fess up?) Today was all about stories, laughter, and memories. It was a celebration of DeVere’s life rather than a mourning of his passing. The overwhelming sentiment (which I wholeheartedly agree with) was that DeVere was a true gentleman, and the sweetest man you could ever meet.

Take note, people: when I die, I want stories and lots of laughing.

Whenever I attend a funeral, I start to wonder what people will say at mine. That’s pretty normal, right? I’m not just being morbid. This time. As I listened to people talk about the positive attitude and kindness that DeVere displayed on a daily basis, I thought about how I really need to be nicer so people will say good things about me when I die.

What? That’s totally a good reason.

Let’s be honest: that’s never going to happen. The me being nicer part, that is. People should still say good things about me, because it’s not nice to belittle the deceased. So I’ve come up with an alternative that I’m comfortable with. Start memorizing it now, because I expect you all to say it at my funeral:

“She was funny as hell.”

That works, right? You have to do the swearing part, too. I demand it.

And now, because I am who I am, I have to tell you about how I almost had to leave the service because I’m just like Mary Tyler Moore.

After the opening remarks, there was a beautiful bassoon solo (Seriously, that’s not a paradox. Who knew?) which started off sounding dangerously like “Send in the Clowns.” I know! I was very concerned! (It wasn’t “Send in the Clowns.” Or anything else by Sondheim, thank goodness.) I leaned over to my mother and whispered, “The bassoonist is quite good.” My mother whispered back, “I know. His father played the xylophone at my wedding.”

“You had a xylophone at your wedding?”

Is there any way to not laugh at that? Even if it’s in the middle of a very touching bassoon solo? I think not.

Great-Uncle DeVere, you were a kind, gentle, loving man. You made everyone around you feel special and important. And I’m really sorry I giggled at your funeral, but I’m pretty sure you would’ve been okay with that. Especially since Dennis used the phrase “rolled dick” at the pulpit.

Seriously. You had to be there.

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7 responses

24 09 2010
Poppy

Nice is overrated. I think funny as hell is the way to go. I tend to get the giggles during weddings when the bride and groom are particularly young. I’ve tried snapping rubber bands on my wrists, digging my fingernails into my skins, but sometimes I just can’t help it. I’m terrible. I’m sure if some of those happy couples attend my funeral they will think of other 4 letter words to describe me.

I bet your Great-Uncle and his sweetheart were holding hands and playing the tambourine with the other.

20 09 2010
Mom

Peter, if I’m still alive, don’t you DARE do the “little song,” etc thing at Dad’s funeral!! You’re witty enough. Come up with your own joke. To set the record straight: my mother said, “I’m paying for the reception. You really don’t have a say in what goes on.” You know my family. Compliance is the least painful way.

The connection to the Robinsons: the son of the xylophone (the bassoonist) was DeVere’s home teacher.

20 09 2010
Peter

Perhaps the xylophonist has died, because there was a very unique bassoon-xylophone (actually he was playing the vibes, with full pedal action) duet at DeVere’s wife’s funeral (were you not there, Jenny?). Though strange, it was very good. I forget their connection to the Robinson clan.

I so wish I could have been at the funeral. And don’t worry, at our father’s funeral, I fully intend to say, “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.”

19 09 2010
rachel

rolled dick? is this something like poop ass? i need the full story.
and seriously, who has a xylophone at their wedding? perhaps an elementary school music teacher who holds the reception in her classroom. i also think there would have to be an auto-harp there.

19 09 2010
meredith

rolled dick. xylophone. bassoonist. send in the clowns. mary tyler moore.

i am, indeed, giggling too hard to adequately offer you my condolences.

i’ll try again tomorrow.

and yeah, ‘she was funny as hell’ could totally replace counting sheep. or presidents. which i totally do. when falling asleep.

i know.

19 09 2010
La Yen

I demand someone roll dick at my funeral. With whatever that entails.

19 09 2010
Jenny

I am sorry for your loss. I too prefer funerals that are more uplifting than depressing. Sorry, you made me crack up AGAIN! Your parents both seem so reserved, maybe I can see a xylophone at their wedding? Kind of like those hand bell ringers? Don’t know. Anyway, your great-uncle sounded like a very gentle man. He IS with is SWEETHEART now… holding hands!

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