It raises this question for me: Who is a funeral for? Is it for the person who died? for the family? Is it a final way to communicate our values and beliefs--even our taste in music, art, literature? Our personal theology? Or the spiritual needs of the people in the pews?
I go back and forth on this. I have two funeral files, one for John and one for me. Is that about being well organized or crazy controlling? Is it thoughtful? I like to think no one will need to guess at my favorite poems, hymns or what should be in the handouts. John's file lets me anticipate how crazy grief will make me and gives (probably false) assurance that I'll be able to choreograph his funeral in a way that will convey his taste, intellect and humor. But, really. Isn't that a lot like my childhood mantra of "What if…?" that I used over and over to provide a false feeling that preparation would protect me?