Home > humor > Best. Funeral. Ever.

Best. Funeral. Ever.

 

I bumped into an old friend the other day, a co-worker from an organization I used to work with a number of years ago.  The obvious pleasantries about work and family were exchanged as we caught up on each others lives. It was mostly small talk not worth writing about here, but we did reminisce a little about her mother’s passing almost 15 years ago now.  Oh how we laughed about her mother and her funeral.  That’s right, we laughed, and it was a good laugh.  Let me tell you about it.

“Chick” was Nancy’s mother.  She was not a particularly religious woman.  In fact, she would be considered a non-practicing Catholic; the kind that occasionally sets foot in Church, maybe on Christmas or Easter.  Nonetheless, Chick was one grand old lady.  She had a terrific sense of humor and her laugh was simply infectious.  It was impossible to be around her and not laugh along with her.  She could lampoon with the best of them.

Her last few years were difficult ones with regard to her health.  She spent a lot of time in the hospital and in extended nursing home care after several surgeries.  Despite obvious pain, nothing dampened that wild spirit or that sense of humor.  She was genuinely happy to see her family and friends, and was always quick to disarm everyone from feeling any sort of pity, making them laugh instead.  Even the nursing staff enjoyed being around her. She was fun personified.

When she passed, we were all saddened.  I remember Nancy’s daughter telling me not to despair however; Chick would not want anyone being sad about her parting this life.  She gave me a wink and a big smile and said to make sure we went to the funeral. I didn’t think much of it at the time, other than she seemed almost gleeful about the event.

So there we sat, in the chapel of the funeral home.  One of Chick’s last wishes was to have the service performed by a priest who also had a spot on the local radio show that Chick always listened to.  The two had become good friends in her final days.  He honored that wish and was present for the service.  Midway through the service, at 9:30 am, right in the middle of the psalm response it happened…

“Cock-a-doodle-doo!!!”  A rooster crow sounded throughout the chapel.  The reading stopped and everyone looked around, confused and bewildered.  “Cock-a-doodle-doo!!!” again.  It was coming from the casket!  Then a voice:  “It is 9:30…  Cock-a-doodle-doo!!!”  The crowing and time announcement was coming from the casket and it continued for a full minute.  At first everyone tried to suppress the smiles, but one by one, people began to chuckle, and once it began, it just grew until everyone erupted and roared with laughter.  We all laughed, and laughed heartily until we shed a few tears.  You see, Chick’s other last wish was to be buried with her blind husband’s talking-and-crowing-wristwatch, with the alarm set to go off in the middle of the funeral service. I guess she just couldn’t resist the opportunity to make everyone laugh one last time in her presence.

As I sit here and think about Chick, it occurs to me that, although she is long gone, she still is able to make me smile and laugh.  Now that’s a way to make a memorable exit.

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  1. December 1, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    I wish more people thought this way. Every one goes so sad at the thought of their death. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    • December 2, 2011 at 7:57 am

      In general, I agree. I can understand the sadness at a premature death or tragic circumstances, but someone with a life well lived, the funeral should be a celebratory send-off, and Chick’s tops my list. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. December 1, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    I love this, you made me cry though! What a neat woman she must have been.

    • December 2, 2011 at 7:59 am

      Yeah, but I bet you it was a good cry. I only knew Chick for a handful of years, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet someone like that.

  3. December 2, 2011 at 9:01 am

    LOL – what a brilliant way to leave this world, by making others laugh.

    • December 3, 2011 at 9:31 am

      It was an incredible and special moment for all of us there. I’m just glad I was there.

  4. December 2, 2011 at 9:28 am

    That’s what I want my memorial service to be like–a celebration of my life with lots of laughter , but not necessarily sound-effects (since I’ll be in ash form). That would be a bit creepy, don’t you think?

    I’m glad you and your acquaintance got to talk and share some fond memories…and laugh with her mother.

    The picture in your opening was great! It reminded me of mini-van I saw yesterday with large words spray-painted on on both sides: Just Divorced! For real.

    • December 3, 2011 at 9:34 am

      Well Lorna, here’s hoping you don’t have to have that celebration for a long, long, long, very long time. I too want a light-hearted service where people laugh and remember the funny moments that make us all uniquely human.

  5. December 2, 2011 at 10:38 am

    That’s awesome –

    When I have my funeral, I want some upbeat happy gospel music, just like in the Ally McBeal shows.

    I want people dancing at my funeral.

    🙂

    • December 3, 2011 at 9:36 am

      I’ve seen a good number of my family and friends dance under the best of circumstances. Having them dance at my funeral would pretty much guarantee a few good laughs… 🙂

  6. December 2, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    That’s my kinda girl. Gotta love her. 🙂

    • December 3, 2011 at 9:38 am

      She was my kinda girl too, Totsy. And in the short time we knew her, we did love her.

  7. Androgoth
    December 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    This is a truly excellent posting Phil and I too am having a chuckle at the Cock-a-doodle-doo 09:30 alarm, now that is classic and she must have had a quiet giggle over that wish more than once I would think…

    Your friend’s mum was certainly one of the very best my friend, and optimistic to the end with a hint of joviality thrown in for good measure. Thank you for sharing your experience with us Phil and this truism of yours is one that will always stay with you…

    Have a great start to your weekend now, and
    do have a few more laughs it is good for you 🙂

    Androgoth

    • December 3, 2011 at 9:41 am

      She was one of the very best. What is striking is how unassuming so many people are in this life, until you get to know them a bit deeper. Chick was for the most part an average woman living an average life in an average town – so easily lost in the sea of anonymity. I’m so glad I got to know her though.

      • Androgoth
        December 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm

        Yes and what a fine example
        of courage she portrayed, a very
        noble soul I think? 🙂

        Be well my good friend 🙂

        Androgoth

  8. December 3, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Wonderful post… .,, Liked it:)

    • December 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. December 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I have left specific instructions the DJ at my funeral (yes, DJ) play only songs meant to be danced to. I have considered hiring a comedian to do the actual eulogy, but I am certain there will be enough hecklers in the audience anyone could get the crowd (who will be thrilled to see me go) uproariously laughing.

    Great post. I would have liked to have met Chick. She sounds like my kind of people.

    Ciao,
    Red.

    • December 3, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      Red, I’m already chuckling at the visual of your funeral. It sounds like a real showstopping send off for sure! A little bit of irreverence is good for the soul.

      • December 3, 2011 at 7:36 pm

        And I bring irreverence by the lorry load. If you have not yet had the pleasure, do peruse the Saturday Evening Post. The 4th edition is due out in 25 more minutes.

        For the world, I shall not have a funeral be contrary to the way I live my life…One dramatic laugh after the other!
        Red.

  10. December 3, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    –Miss Chick Rocks. Fabulous.

    hope you are well, Phil. xx

    • December 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

      Kim, she really did rock! I’m fine! Hope you are well too.

  11. December 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Your friends mom sounds like she was a terrific lady, that really was quite a memorable exit!
    It’s so good to see you again Phil:) thanks for your wonderful comment. I hope you have a relaxing and lovely Sunday. Big hugs, Nikki

    • December 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      Chick really was a terrific lady in every sense of the word. I hope you have a terrific week ahead of you.

  12. December 6, 2011 at 12:01 am

    I want to grow up and be just like your friend’s mom. What a wonderful lady she must have been to know. It is easy to see she was special beyond words.

    Terrific post.

    • December 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you Miss DR. She really was a wonderful lady. Always had a smile on her face, and she shared it freely.

  13. Joni
    December 6, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Very cool story, Phil – I so enjoyed this one. 🙂 Of course I have a story. 😀 Lorelei has been studying Egyptian culture in school and she came home one day and was telling me about how they buried their dead and that their funerals weren’t sad, they were a celebration of people’s lives. She said “Who is old in our family? Papapa (Bob’s dad) is probably going to die soon – we’ll have to have a celebration of his life when he dies!” I have to wonder what my father in law would think about how excited she was at this prospect.

    • December 6, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      Joni! So nice to see you here. I’m telling you that you need to journal all of those Lorelei stories and moments before you forget them! I’m glad you enjoyed this. I have been meaning to tell this story for some time now, and bumping into Nancy jogged my memory to do so.

  14. Androgoth
    December 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Have a great rest of
    day and evening Phil 🙂

    Androgoth

  15. December 7, 2011 at 9:56 am

    In Russia funerals are very, very somber events. When I first attended funereal here in America, it happened to be an African American person, who passed, I was in shock when everybody started to sing. I did not know how to react – I was crying and everyone one else were smiling and singing!

    • December 16, 2011 at 9:46 am

      Ariana, no one does pathos and gravitas as well as Russians. It’s in their blood! Welcome to a bit of culture shock.

  16. December 13, 2011 at 4:36 am

    What a great story. What a great friend. It looks like she passed her humor on to you.

    • December 16, 2011 at 9:47 am

      Although I only knew her later on in life, she was a fun person to know. That humor lives on in her children and grand-children.

  17. December 27, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I. who have died and been reborn, three times, and will die again some day, salute you. And Nancy. What a motherhood they must have been together. I don;t think I dwell on my death. But I do think about my legacy. “Chick” will be my inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

    TD.

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