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Arranging the funeral Dad would have loved

Kathy Lawrence, writer and daughter,  shares news with her father, which offers inspiration for when the time comes to organise a funeral.

Dear Dad

Here’s an update for you.  On the hottest September day for 50 years Phil and I visited the undertakers yesterday. They’re the same firm that we used for mum which is really helpful as they have details of what happened eight years ago on file.  The great thing about the meeting was that they could tell us what we needed to do. We worked through a long list of questions to find out what our preferences were and fill in the appropriate forms. Many of these things we hadn’t really thought about but you’ll be pleased to hear we didn’t argue about anything.

First, we’ve chosen a graveside service with a celebrant. I didn’t feel a church was quite right as you’ve never expressed positive religious views. And as you are proudly and loudly tone deaf we had little idea what might appeal to you in the way of music. I know you like Eartha Kitt and have fond memories of the Salad Days musical, and we were tempted with those as you would appreciate the humour of their inappropriateness. But we are also aware that not everyone who cares would enjoy frivolity. As a result, with no vicar and no music, we thought let’s keep things simple with a celebration of your life at the graveside. As mum’s already there we can pay tribute to you both.

That reminds me. I now own a grave. What a bizarre thing! I don’t know what responsibilities come with that but officially someone has to take ownership now that you are gone. I may plant a rose (though perhaps raspberries would be more appropriate!) but I’m only allowed a few inches to play with as it’s a lawned crematorium. The funeral directors are on the case again and will let us know about removing and replacing the headstone with an added inscription.

We’ve picked out a coffin. Loved the look of the willow one and thought you would have liked it too. But it was very expensive (not really an issue as you’re paying!) and again we have to be mindful of the traditionalists. The undertakers have explained exactly what services they will provide and how much it will cost. You’ll be mildly amused to know that the technology failed again so we may or may not have paid a deposit.  They’re also taking care of a notice in the local paper. It seems a very appropriate thing to do as you’ve lived in the town for nearly 60 years and will have touched many lives with your involvement in sport, politics and just generally being good to people.

What else? Oh, we’re asking for donations to charity rather than flowers. After a bit of deliberation we’ve chosen SportsAble as you so enjoyed helping to get young people into athletics at the local club. We think you would like that.  I still have to sort transport for people flying in for the funeral and where and what we’re going to do for lunch as well as our own flowers. But that’s not anything to bother you with. I’ve had plenty of practice with family based all over the world!

So that’s it for now. Fancy me doing all the talking and making the decisions! I’m truly sad that you’re not here to talk it over any more, but I’m also truly glad that you are now at peace. 94 and finally out.

Will be in touch again,

Love Kathy

Kathy Lawrence is a freelance copywriter, lifestyle and marketing blogger on all things beyond retirement.

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