Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Prefunerals for all

I learned of an earlier colleague's death via facebook, via my laptop, in a business meeting. I was multitasking in Portland and he had been canoeing in Wales; a young man (as I would latterly have it), just 42 and as upbeat and public-spirited a chap as one is ever likely to meet; he had lead the Rescue Team at Sussex to which I had briefly belonged - principally so that I could carry a walkie-talkie and, indeed, avoid business meetings. We were not close, but it's the sort of event that gives one pause to reflect.

Obviously the most dispiriting aspect of my funeral will be the fact that I will not be there to witness all the lovely things people have to say about me – you know, all those particularly nice things that you, for example, patently feel but are too embarrassed to slip into everyday conversation because it makes you feel like a pansy. Almost as frustrating however is the thought that you will not be there to witness any eulogy I may put together in your honour; frankly I will have poured my heart into the tribute and will have filled it with such fancies as would make you weep, a bittersweet recollection of the joys that you have brought to the world fused with a certain indefinable melancholy for having failed to have spent more time in my august company. ETA for this peak experience? More or less a week too late.

Clearly something needs to be done to rectify this situation, so here’s my suggestion: every five years one will be obliged to stage a pre-funeral. You will invite everyone that would likely attend the real thing. At the appointed hour everyone will arrive at a certain place in their understated, dignified finery and anyone who feels the desire will stand up in turn to deliver a few well chosen words on your life, highlighting the positive characteristics, glossing over the less salubrious aspects of one’s personality and focusing in on the very real impact one has had on shaping their destiny (for the better). During this period you will maintain your silence, perhaps taping the proceedings for your resume. Then, as the last of your chosen melodies fades out, you’ll break out the champagne and have a jolly good knees-up with all your loving friends and family, while you still can. I expect their will be a lot of tears and hugs and bonhomie and everyone will have an amazing time.

As an added bonus, it’s all something of a dress rehearsal for the real thing – when the bell tolls everyone will know their positions, they’ll have their speeches prepared and the track listing will be available on iTunes.

So, who’s first up?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice to know someone else has the same idea as me. what king of world do we live in where the only time we acknowledge a persons accomplishments and attributes is when they are dead, why not do something for them when they are living. there are many people out there including my self who could really use a time where they find out why they are important in the first place.

June 22, 2008  
Blogger Bellsage said...

I think someone should come up with a way to make this prefuneral idea come to life.

June 22, 2008  

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