Saturday, November 17, 2007

Talking about dying can be a lot of laughs

Or so it seemed at our workshop this afternoon, when a group from the congregation met to discuss memorial services and how to die well. Though our topic was supposedly morbid, we had a lot of fun and the afternoon felt well-spent. I gave them a form to fill out to make their wishes known to family members when they die, and we spent a good deal of time talking about memorial services and funerals that they had both loved and hated.

Doctrinal services were a major sticking point for most. As Unitarian Universalists, we have a celebratory approach to life and death and do not find "he's gone to be in a better place" very helpful most of the time. People both loved and hated the near-traditional "open mic" (or community sharing) time, recognizing the danger and the beauty of having a time of extemporaneous remarks.

It felt like people needed to get some things off their chests, during the conversation, and yet it was hilarious and dark humor was the order of the day.

We're going to meet again after the holidays to talk about "pre-death" stuff, hospice, power of attorney, and that sort of stuff that we didn't have time for today.

I thought you'd like to know.


Mile High Pixie said...

Yes it can indeed me a lot of laughs. My husband and I have made each other laugh about where we want our ashes scattered. Guy began making a long list: one-sixth of the ashes in China, one twelfth in Antarctica....

Even at funerals, I've managed to laugh. After my dad's funeral, my family members elicted peals of laughter from me when they told me that one of the fellows who worked for the funeral home kept badgering my stepbrother for my phone the funeral.

ms. kitty said...

I think laughter at a memorial/funeral is extremely appropriate. We're celebrating a life, for heaven's sake, and life is full of laughter----even the bad parts are fodder for a lot of humor. Glad you've had the same experience, Pixie.

Anonymous said...

During the staff meetings of the Hospice team where I worked for awhile, we laughed an extraordinary amount of the time. It was a great release and kept us whole and able to maintain our groundedness. We found that laughter was important in the care we gave as well. It allowed a feeling of normalacy and gave hope and lightness. Grieving, too, is such an emotionally mixed bag, ey?
Is there anything better than laughter and humor? Sex, maybe, I don't remember!

It sounds like a wonderful afternoon, Kit, and so important, not only for exploring the subject, but in building community as they share their wants and vulnerabilities. Kudos.