Funeral Arrangements

A telephonic evening after a busy day with a visit to the dentist to repair a chipped tooth. Fingers crossed we have got a date for the funeral, though it seems a long time away, which will accommodate travelling family, church pianist, local council employees at the cemetery and the undertaker’s prior commitments.

It is a bit odd, being a Minor Cousin, to find myself in charge of all this. Tonight after a couple of longish ‘phone calls, I sent an email to my various relatives, and now I wait for the results.

My cousin Tom, who is a clergyman, accepted, with a slight sigh of resignation, my nomination of him to speak on behalf of the family. I just hope the church minister can find someone (someone Aunt liked for preference) to speak for the church community.

My experience organising Mother’s funeral is helping this time around, if only in excluding the place where we had refreshments then. I am quite envious of my family from Ireland who will be accommodated at Aunt’s expense in a comfortable hotel while I shall again be on the lumpy mattress in the guest room. There are lessons here for when it comes to my own funeral, and perhaps I should be following Aunt’s example and taking out a prepaid plan.

A friend warns me willow coffins can be creaky, so that is a another question to raise with the undertakers. I realised suddemly there had been no mention of a headstone, so another email to the solicitor re the finance, to which I am awaiting an answer, and a recommendation of a monumental mason from the undertaker.

I am guessing Aunt did not think of this as there are no instructions. All in all there is a lot to think about and plan.

I am starting to wonder if I have a future career as a funeral organiser.

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16 thoughts on “Funeral Arrangements

  1. Perhaps my great – uncle Harold had the right idea. No ceremony at all, and his wife to take their favourite walk at Hope Cove (Devon – they lived nearby) and scatter his ashes on the cliff top.

    • Well I don’t have a lot of choice! But it was good to have the weekend, and having been in charge of my mother’s funeral arrangements I have some inkling of what needs to be done. Coordinating between church, undertakers, cemetery and family is the tiring and time consuming part. I want it to be a good funeral where the mourners feel Aunt has been honoured and is true to her spirit.

  2. I have only had to organize one funeral and it was my Mom’s. She didn’t tell me what she wanted because she couldn’t face what was happening to her. I so understand that. I had a two hour visitation for her, casket was closed, and services at the cemetery. The funeral home owners were friends of ours and they handled the ordering of the monument. They took care of everything. It got a little complicated in the beginning when the catholic church we had belonged to all our lives would not help us with getting a priest and were not sure she could be buried in the joint burial plot where my Dad was already buried. The church declared she was not a member of local church. She had been living in St. Louis near us. The very reason I am not a practicing Catholic any longer. I like what Celia suggests. Hard time Isobel. I am not surprised Aunt’s family has left this to you. I am sure they see you as being strong, capable, and very thoughtful.

    • That sounds an incredibly insensitive response from the church, and a very upsetting experience for you. I hope you did succeed in burying her with your father.

      If I ever take out a funeral plan, I am going to put a lot more detail in it!

  3. Have you asked the solicitor if you could stay at the comfortable hotel, paid for by funeral expenses? Please, please, please ask the question, Isobel!!

  4. On re-reading this at five in the morning (woke up with a splitting headache for some reason, got up to take some paracetamol and sat down idly in front of the computer) I wonder at your self designation as a minor cousin. I thought you were Aunt’s niece. What would a major cousin be, if you are a minor cousin?

    • On Mother’s (and therefore Aunt’s) side of the family w are nine first cousins, not counting half cousins who may be legion but unknown to us, of which I am number seven. I’d say a major cousin would be in the top three.

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