My mother didn’t have a funeral. Neither did her mother. Part of me was relieved. When my grandmother died I was relieved I didn’t have to fight with my mother or anyone else to honor her wishes, because she made me promise I wouldn’t let them do a funeral for her. When my mother died, we all felt the same about honoring her wishes, and we were, perhaps, relieved at not having to plan her funeral. But I think we missed out on something. We did have a gathering–I’m not sure you would call it a viewing with her casket closed–also her wishes. Several members of my dad’s family came. They’ve always been supportive like that, even though–perhaps especially because–he has been gone for so long. Mom’s sister Jean and all her children came, along with several people from my mom’s work and her neighborhood. And a number of our friends. I still remember from when my father died how much it means to you when your friends show up for you in times of loss and tragedy.
In any case, so it was a new experience for me to be involved–or at least present–in the planning of a funeral as we gathered in Duchesne last Saturday for the planning of my mother-in-law, Barbara’s services.
So I figured now might be as good a time as any to draft my own wishes.
I want to be buried in a simple pine box. With one of the quilts I made. I used to think I’d like to be buried with my favorite quilt, but one of my friends threatened to open the casket and take it back before I was laid to rest, so I’ll settle for the first quilt I made. The pattern is called Card Tricks. The fabrics are tan with trees, moose, bears, and a canoe (remember how I always wanted a canoe? I still hope to make that happen some day). It’s also the one with a splash of black craft paint on the back (back when I made boring, un-crazy-pieced quilt backs). Because, kids.
Please don’t let them curl my hair or put lipstick on my lips or blush on my face. I didn’t bother in real life and I certainly don’t want it in the post-life.
My favorite hymns are More Holiness Give Me and Lord, I Would Follow Thee, and Be Still My Soul (aka Finlandia). Well Come Thou Fount speaks to my heart and always makes me cry but it’s not in the hymnbook anymore, so I’m not sure everyone would know the words. My other favorites are There is Sunshine in My Soul Today, but I think it might be a stretch asking people to sing that at a funeral. Also, Reverently and Meekly Now, but that’s a sacrament hymn, so also not appropriate for a funeral. I do want people to know what I believe (I don’t know how anyone couldn’t already, I’m not exactly shy about it). 2 Nephi 31:20 sums it up nicely and I’d love to have it included on the program, if there is one.
People can speak or not speak as they wish, but I do have a silk envelope of really kind things my friends once wrote to me tucked away in my top dresser drawer in case my family doesn’t have much to say. But whatever else is on the program, please remember to keep it short. If it goes over an hour long I’m going to come back and haunt people, and not in a good way.
Please let Lindsay be a pallbearer, but only if she wants to be. I’ll forever be grateful for dear old Cora Soulier for having the good sense to choose the women who supported her in life to be her honorary pallbearers. But there is no good reason for women to not be actual pallbearers as well.
My favorite flowers are gerber daisies, lavender, and hydrangea (I’m not sure those go together particularly well). I’d honestly be almost as happy with some sage brush, as the scent brings back many fond memories, but I think people in my family are allergic. Aside from something simple on the casket, please encourage people to give their hard-earned money to the refugees or the missionary fund–or both–in lieu of flowers.
One teeny tiny thing that would make me almost as happy as that time we finally tracked down someone to play the banjo at Kate’s Celebration of Life and that other time when Book on Tape Worm performed at my 50th birthday party would be the sweet sound of bagpipes. Amazing Grace would be lovely as people leave the chapel and head to their cars, or even as they leave the graveside and head back to the church for a family dinner.
Note: I’m fairly certain at least a few of my family members will be sad if there are no funeral potatoes, so please someone make sure there are funeral potatoes. Oh, and if it’s not too much trouble, serve root beer floats for dessert instead of cake. I don’t really love cake. And root beer floats are my favorite.