Exactly what motivates one to look up a fun funeral website? You handful of people who come here — are you already sold on the notion of something out-of-the-box, as the pun goes? Are you already picturing laughter, embarrassing stories, a night of bittersweet toasts in your honor?
Do you have any trepidation about that vision?
The slightest of qualms? A teeny-weeny reservation about impropriety?
Because if you do not — hats off to you, my friends.
And if you do — ’Phew. You have company.
I’m on a personal challenge with a friend in a related business to come clean about our fears… what we’re afraid to admit, beliefs we have that scare us to publicly proclaim.
I have quite a few, actually, which I’ll expose in the coming weeks. But I’m starting with a relatively easy one. It’s not a huge fear. But still.
Here goes nothing: I, founder of I Want a Fun Funeral, have suffered extraordinary little loss in my life. If I were so accused: you have no idea what you’re talking about, it would be hard to argue.
I’ve lost no close friends. No tragedies. Nobody young. Nobody completely unexpected. Not one single death that left me shocked, devastated, or emotionally wrenched. At my age, I consider this a huge blessing and some much appreciated good karma.
So while I know in my heart that I prefer celebration and gratitude to mournful despair, I have never been put to the test. Would I walk my own talk? Would I rise to the funeral occasion in a unique and enthusiastic way, saying goodbye with gusto instead of rote conformity to tradition?
I believe I would, but I can’t swear to it.
And it makes me nervous to say that.
And therein, I suppose, lies the compassion that should always prevail, more than any other sentiment.
Be creative. Be brave. But most importantly, be kind and understanding of anyone experiencing the painful loss of someone they loved. Including yourself.
No one knows what someone else’s pain feels like to them. We can conjure up wonderful new ways to say goodbye, but death is a loss like no other.
Whatever end of the loss spectrum we’re on — fortunate or harrowed — let’s never be judgmental. Death is way too hard as it is to add anything other than love and sympathy.