What Kind of Funeral Do You Want to Have? : An Excerpt from 100 Meditations by Michael Crawford

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want you to imagine that you have died and are now a ghost. You have full consciousness and awareness of the past. There you are, looking down on everything after you are gone. What do you think you would experience? You might be hurt by the fact that some people moved on so quickly. “I thought they would be devastated,” you might think. You might even be moved to laugh at how quickly people start fighting over things that were meaningless to you. You would probably want to cry at the pain your death has caused those whom you love. Perhaps you might want to break into the real world when you see your best friend come by after a while to borrow your favorite power tool. Feelings of jealousy might arise when your girlfriend, looking really cute, stops by to comfort your husband. What would you feel if you heard your parents talking about adopting a child or having another child?

Now, I want to take you to your funeral. And I want you to imagine getting there before anyone else. You take a seat in the last row. What are you seeing? Is it the place you imagined? As people file in, did you expect to see the people who are coming to show up? Who hasn’t arrived yet? As you are looking over at the door, who do you hope walks through? As the last few people walk in and take their seats, are you satisfied with the turnout? As you watch your family and closest friends being ushered in, is it everything you imagined? Is the person officiating at your funeral someone you would have chosen? As people file to the front and talk about your life, are you pleased with who is up there and what they are saying about you?

You move forward to the coffin as people are beginning to file by to say their last good-byes. Did everyone come by? Did they say what you thought they would say? Did anyone you wanted to say good-bye to stay in their seat?

You are now at the graveside, watching as you are put in the ground. Is everyone there you had hoped would come? Glance around: what are people talking about? As people begin to say their good-byes, are you happy with the way your funeral went?

Welcome back to reality. How you live will largely determine what kind of funeral you will have. These questions may have exposed how little you have prepared for your funeral, and type A personalities may be writing up their plans as they read this. But don’t miss the point. What kind of funeral do you want to have? You are determining that as we speak. Whatever you want people to say about you at your funeral needs to be lived out now. If something needs to change, do it now so that you can have the funeral you want. We want to respect the dead, and when they have not lived well, there is a pressure to be dishonest to make them seem better than they were. After all, it’s a funeral, there must be some good news. There are few things worse than being at a funeral listening to people lie about the deceased. You can live in such a way that your life needs no embellishment.

What kind of funeral do you want to have?