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Does this trend for 'fun' funerals demeans the dead

Discussion in 'After dementia — dealing with loss' started by jimbo 111, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. jimbo 111

    jimbo 111 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2009
    North Bucks
    In recent years I have found that many of the funerals/cremations I have attended
    { and at age 85 there have been many)the service has been what they have termed as ‘Humanist ‘
    I respect the right of people to have the funeral as they want it to be but ,as what you might call a traditionalist ,I have always felt a bit uncomfortable about the apparent lack of Christian ceremony

    This article by Bel Mooney puts into perspective many of my thoughts

    I do not wish to be critical of those who do not share my view, as is often remarked ‘it is their choice and should be respected, and for what it’s worth I could have declined to go to such funerals , except that you are not always aware of the type of service

    This trend for 'fun' funerals demeans the dead and those who mourn them,
    By Bel Mooney
    for the Daily Mail
    Published: 01:38, 3 April 2015 | Updated: 09:34, 3 April 2015

    Recently, one of my colleagues had to go to a funeral, and was left rather disturbed by the experience. Expecting a conventional ceremony, he was confronted by the modern trend of a humanist funeral.
    It was all about celebration rather than sadness, with no mention of religion at all. He couldn’t understand why it was all so determinedly jolly.
    As people stood up, one by one, to share entertaining memories of the dead person, he felt discomforted because they seemed to be making the ritual all about them — almost as if they were showing off.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/a...ad-mourn-WRITES-BEL-MOONEY.html#ixzz3WHOKtpTf
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Well I accept totally that people have different view points, but I have to say, I'm completely onboard with celebrating a person's life rather that "just" mourning their death. Obviously, I haven't been to the funerals referenced by the author of this piece, so I can't comment on those, but I have been to humanist funerals, in fact arranged one for my mother and in my view they are both: celebrations and mourning. Tears through the smiles rather.

    Also, of course, some people are simply not religious, my mother wasn't, and would have been really quite offended to have a religion she had no part of when alive trotted out when she was dead.

    But this is such a personal thing.
  3. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    #3 Beate, Apr 3, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015
    I am sorry but that article made me rather cross. Neither OH nor I are religious so I know that he will approve of me using a humanist celebrant and avoiding all the traditional stuff as much as possible. That does not mean that I will take death lightly nor that I will tell anyone not to wear black. But I want his life celebrated in an individual way, without hymns but with Elvis music he loves so much. He would not want pomp, just some nice songs, poems and stories about his life. I have nothing against people going the traditional route if that gives them comfort but I do not understand why anyone would have to be dismissive about non-traditional routes like the article writer. Surely the funeral should reflect the deceased and not the guests? I am sorry if it makes anyone uncomfortable but I have endured many a stuffy funeral without it ever occuring to me to complain about it. Each to their own, I'd say and absolutely no offence to you, jimbo.
  4. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    I too found that article rather offensive. Each to their own; who is she to criticise what other people decide to do?

    I arranged the funerals of my mother and my father.. Both were low-key religious ceremonies conducted by a minister and I have to say I found neither remotely comforting. I chose a religious one for my father because that's what my mother, who was in the early stage of Alzheimer's at the time would have expected, although as it turned out, I don't think she understood where she was. The minister started on some sort of fire and brimstone tirade at one point in a strong South African accent and I remember looking at Dads coffin and saying to myself "Sorry, Dad. You probably think this is all ******* too." To be fair, it provided enough of a distraction to stem the tears. :rolleyes:

    I was then persuaded to have another low-key religious ceremony for my mum by the rest of the family because "she went to church all her life". This time round the incumbent minister was a Dutch speaking Brazilian (I kid you not) who people couldn't understand so I ended up with an elder of the church instead. The paper shuffling as she mixed up her notes and the over-the-top flowery additions to my script made me cringe, tbh. I couldn't wait for it to be over.

    So my family have been instructed - no religious ceremony when it's my turn, please. They don't have to speak about me if they don't want to. I'd be quite happy simply for some lovely music to be played whilst those who wished to attend sat quietly with their own thoughts and memories.
  5. southlucia

    southlucia Registered User

    Dec 19, 2011
    Thankfully, society now enables us to make a choice about how our funerals are conducted. If we are atheist or agnostic we can decide not to have a religious service, because this wouldn’t reflect our lives. It isn’t about the views of the people who attend the funeral; it’s about the life of the individual and the family. That said, there is the option for a Civil Celebrant to officiate a funeral ceremony. They will provide some religious content, if required. This is quite different to a Humanist ceremony.
    The author is obviously very narrow minded as well as being offensive. There is no ‘fun’ in any funeral.
  6. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Neither OH or I are in the slightest bit religious and the thought that my family would ever consider giving me a funeral appalls me.

    We have both chosen instead to have a gathering of friends who are welcome to say something if they choose, favorite music, some good food and a drink or two. I have no desire to have a minister of religion who I have never met saying things I don't believe at a funeral service that has nothing to do with who I am or what I am about.
  7. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    One thing I wanted to say: I thought the article was more balanced than the headline attached to it. Sure, her conclusions weren't my conclusions, but she did address the whole "decedent wasn't religious" and "the celebrant had no idea about the person" thing that I have experienced.
  8. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    I there's ever a day in my life when it isn't all about me it's someone else's funeral. I've been to Hindu, Christian and Jewish ones, temples, churches and synagogues and however I've felt about the experience it's about the person who died not me.
    I attend the funerals of friends and those I respect, if the service is carried out as they wished then who am I to criticise?
    It might be a big formal do in a church with bells and everything then a sit down meal in a restaurant or it could just be ham sandwiches in a pub with a flat roof, however it turns out it is their day and not for me to say.
    Expecting someone's funeral to be to your own personal taste is a bit self indulgent (not you more the article you linked to) it is at the end of the day, the end of the day for someone else and maybe they should get to decide.
  9. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    When Pete died I decided that there was to be a celebration of his life; Pete had lived his life to the full-so there was a lot to celebrate. I KNOW that Pete would have wanted it that way and, to be honest, it got me through the whole thing. To remember Pete as he was when he was well was a gift for everyone who was there. The humanist who conducted the service gave those with religion the opportunity to say their prayers when we were listening to some music.

    Pete had began to lose his religion at the age of 15 when his pregnant sister committed suicide. Even at that young age he couldn't understand why his parents were shunned by the religious community and his sister was placed in an unmarked grave. By the age of 18 he had made his choice and had no further dealings with church/religion. He had made his choice and stuck with it. If he had been given a religious ceremony I'm sure he would have been extremely disturbed.

    Saying that, I have been to full religious funerals and I respect people's choices.
  10. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    I'm glad this topic has been raised and that you have all been so forthright. I have never been comfortable with what I call "Frank Sinatra" funerals but you know what? - I'm wrong.

    If pop songs or no songs are what you want then do your thing. If dementia has taught me anything at all it is to ignore convention - do what needs to be done to get you through - seize those moments which give you comfort or enjoyment because this whole business is punitive - take happiness when you can get it without troubling anyone else. I will now go to funerals with a new mindset.
  11. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    I`d be very upset if anyone referred to my husband`s Humanist funeral as a `fun` funeral. These generalisations are unfair , unjust and ignorant.
  12. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    Why the connection between a Humanist funeral and fun?
    I've been to humanist funerals which were anything but fun.
    Surely the important factor is to show respect for the person in whose name the funeral is held.
    For it to be as they would have wanted it to be, regardless of our desires.
    It is also a time to show sympathy for the grieving.
    It is a funeral which, in my book is not about jollity - but that does not exclude it being a celebration of a person's life.
    A memorial service after a cremation service seems to be a growing trend around here.
  13. Delphie

    Delphie Registered User

    Dec 14, 2011
    I'm another one very much in favour of humanist funerals.

    Hardly anyone I know is religious anyway. They might tick the Christian box on a form out of habit but religion and churches don't really feature in their lives. Obviously if they still wish to have a religious ceremony for themselves when the time comes then that's up to them. No one can truly judge how much faith there is in someone's heart.

    But I totally understand why people choose to go the way they've lived, surrounded by their favourite people, flowers and music, giving as much time to religion as they did while alive. None.

    That's how I'm planning to be sent off.
  14. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    #14 Saffie, Apr 4, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015
    Speaking of generalisations - that last word is a bit unnecessay surely and contradicts the former sentence.
    How do you know the answer is 'none' when you talk about 'people' not a person?
  15. nae sporran

    nae sporran Volunteer Host

    Oct 29, 2014
    I don't know about funerals so much, each to their own and my own opinion of religious ceremony I will keep to myself.
    However, when my grannie died we took her ashes back to Loch Lomond where she had spent most of her life and it sparked so many happy childhood memories of her. We sent her off better that way than at the funeral / cremation I felt.
  16. jan.s

    jan.s Registered User

    Sep 20, 2011
    #16 jan.s, Apr 4, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015

    I have been following this thread, and feel I must add that the most lively funeral I have been to was a Christian funeral.

    The deceased and her family are part of the Elim Christian church. They have lively services, with worship songs played on keyboard, electric guitar and drums. I have to admit it was an uplifting experience. There were prayers and tributes paid and eulogies read by each of the family members. I know she would have been very proud of the occasion. I have to admit, it was an uplifting experience.

    They have very strong beliefs and are very happy with their services.
  17. Delphie

    Delphie Registered User

    Dec 14, 2011
    Because I'm talking about people who generally give no thought to religion as they go through life. Pretty obvious I would have thought.
  18. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    North East England
    I believe that there is no right or wrong way, just personal choice.
  19. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    Not at all obvious going by the sentence referred to -

    I so agree CG.
    The personal choice of the deceased of course.
  20. jimbo 111

    jimbo 111 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2009
    North Bucks
    Death ,funerals/cremations ,are not subjects that are easily discussed
    ( ironic that we are doing so at Easter)
    I am grateful for the responses to this post , but not particularly surprised that most appear to be in favour of ‘Humanist ‘ funerals /crematorium services
    But more importantly ALL agreeing that we should respect the wishes , of either those who have just died ,or their family’s
    I posted the article as a matter of interest , not necessarily agreeing with all the author’s points of view
    I am perfectly clear about my own situation ,and my sons are aware of my wishes
    I don’t want a priest singing my praises , when he/she knows nothing about me ( would prefer one of my sons to do this if they felt like doing so )
    I am a lapsed Roman Catholic ,but significantly I have no preference about either a Christian male or female officiating

    One thing that in recent years has puzzled me greatly , and is perhaps relevant to some of the replies
    Most of us are Christian, baptized by our parents beliefs
    Whilst many may not have received a strict christian upbringing , we nevertheless got married in church with a Christian ceremony
    We had children who were baptised /christened and again mostly got married in church
    We took pleasure in seeing our grandchildren being baptised
    Then why at the end do we deny or ignore the faith that has been with us all our life ???????

    Traditional Christian burials are not devoid of the celebration of someone’s life .Often this is done by a close relative who knows the life history of the deceased
    Irish catholic funerals , for example ,are widely famous for their celebrations /wake after the burial and there is no denial of the joy and happiness appropriate to he deceased

    Whilst having the utmost respect to the wishes of those who’s funeral it is, I still remain puzzled at the apparent denial at life’s end in the traditional way so many of us have lived our lives
    In some respects I rather regret having made this post ; it is well known that we should avoid discussions on religion and politics
    I sincerely hope that members continue to respect each others points of view without the thread being closed due to acrimony

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