come on now, won’t you come back home

Or, How To Throw A Funeral In 10 Easy Steps.

  1. Find a dead Some One.  Try to find a dead Some One You Love, as this leads to having the funeral land in the laps of some other folks you love, as well as partially in your lap.  This may be painful.  This may, in fact, be really shitty.  Whatever.  There’s a lot of business around death.  Somebody’s got to deal.
  2. Handle the red tape.  What, you thought there was just a pine box and some ashes to ashes shit?  Nope.  Ha ha on you!  From inter-state shipping to archaic, homophobic bullshit, you – or some one you love – will have to deal with regulations that turn no ear to love.  Remember: somebody’s got to deal.
  3. Remember shit.  When you’re in the thick of it, remember shit.  Those stories about __________________?  And the ____________?  Fill in the blank.  Those motherfuckers are priceless.
  4. Call in the troops.  You’ll want a nice bottle of George Dickle. Or some carry-out bagels and fresh coffee. And somebody’s got to go get them and bring them to you.  So pick up the phone.  May you count your friends as your family and your family as your friends and may they all come riding up when you put out the call. You’ll remind yourself that your Dearly Departed was good at this sort of thing.
  5. Call in the troops again.  This one is the All Call. It’s death, y’all. People will come.  They’ll show up in dark suits.  They’ll bring food.  They’ll make the Bible palatable to atheists.  They’ll drive you and yours around and listen to history they have no interest in, while seeming interested.  They’ll call you for no reason.  They’ll laugh at inappropriate shit and you’ll be glad.  You call; they’ll come.
  6. Bear Pall.  Really, do we have to say anything else?  Just do it.  Folks have carried your weight before and will again.  Return the favor and be proud you were asked along for the ride.
  7. Food.  The living like to eat, and you know your Dearly Departed did, too.  So plan your After Party accordingly.  Did your Dearly Departed love oysters?  Have some. (Be sure to find some poor soul who knows how to shuck them.)  Or maybe the favored food of The Deceased was any sort of dessert?  Then make a cake.  Or three.  Don’t let the dog eat the cake.
  8. Drinks.  Have them.  Toast en masse and in small groups.  Drinks win at funerals.  Circling with a wine bottle makes you look like good host and allows you to check in with lots of guests.  Yes, this is yet *another* lesson from your Beloved Deceased.
  9. Good lord, do not forget the pictures.  The old ones you dig out of the box at the top of the closet and then ones that about a million people are taking right now.  You’ll be glad to have them. Or, at least you’ll be glad to have some of them.
  10. Keep talking.  Those folks you love, the living and the dead, are around so long as you keep talking about them.  Heaven or no heaven, they’re still here.  Call your friends your family and your family your friends and keep them all close by.