“It’s not for everyone” — a sentiment that applies to many aspects of I Want a Fun Funeral. In fact, I’m head disclaimer proclaimer.
And this may be the shiniest example of that yet: Funeral Homes with Bars.
Yep, you read that right, and whether you cringed or did a “Woo Hoo!” the idea is out and probably going to grow. (Laws vary by state.)
Of course I am a fan, but not because I’m a lush (though I do like my beer), but because it embodies my vision: that funerals don’t need to all look the same, be somber, or adhere to a strict tradition. Every family should feel free to say goodbye in whatever way grabs them. Period.
A lot of people think Irish wakes are the quintessential alternative to the dour funeral. With all due respect, raucous overdrinking isn’t necessarily the best way to deeply honor and remember someone, though it has its perks. It beats the heck out of pseudo stoicism or mindless conformity to ritual without any meaning.
What I like about the option to have a bar at a wake or funeral is that it normalizes the occasion. On your way to a funeral you are probably preoccupied with, if not obsessed with:
• random anxiety about a million different things, from long-ago arguments to what you’re wearing
• concern about “what to say” (you assume you will screw it up)
• emotions (potential minefield)
• memories of other funerals and losses
• existential despair / your own angst about death
• how your entire world might be changing
• generalized heebie jeebies
And there’s more, let’s face it. It’s said that public speaking is our biggest fear, so let me put funeral-attending right behind it.
Death is very very sad but it’s very very normal. Maybe insisting that we honor it in a restrained, rigid way doesn’t serve our acceptance. My perspective is that celebrating the person’s life should way supersede mourning their loss, at least when it comes to the fixed occasion of saying goodbye. And as human beings, food and drink makes us happy, grounded, and present.
It’s not about the booze. It’s about including all aspects of full-out living. Taking the good with the bad and toasting — if you so desire, the wonderful, amazing, much loved person you’re going to miss with all your heart.