Sunday, June 16, 2013

Funeral in Mind

Last Friday was FIL's funeral. My very first experience in Finland. It was a lovely funeral as well as memorial service attended by close relatives. I found that the memorial service was very emotional. I didn't really have time to be too emotional before that 'coz I was the designated photographer.

FIL's recent passing brings my own mortality to the front and centre part of my brain. When I accompanied MIL (along with BIL) to choose the plot of land at the cemetery, I was a bit surprised to see that MIL was rather particular in choosing where she wanted to "lay down" with FIL (apparently you can also book the plot ahead of time for yourself and your partner and decide which side you want to choose for your own plot), but I suppose when you think about it, it makes sense 'coz she knows there are people from the next generations who will be visiting the grave (or their graves) later on. So they will be able to pay respect to FIL (and to MIL later on) by planting flowers there etc. 

While trying to find out about the funeral custom here in Finland before my FIL's funeral, I found a woman's blog in Finnish. In one blog post, she wrote a list about her wishes when it came to her funeral arrangement. She was very specific about many things, including the song choices for the funeral, whether or not they should put her obituary in the newspaper, etc. That again made me think...she could afford to be specific because she was confident that there were others who would respect her wishes and make sure that her wishes come true.

It makes me wonder who'll be here "for me" when my time comes. If I should die as a very old woman and if that means that all the other close family members here (including hubby) have gone before me, the only people left would be our two nephews, but then again I'm not really close to them and they live far from here, but I suppose the government will contact them 'coz they're the only relatives left here in Finland and they're the ones who'll have to sort things out (including sorting out my valuables etc.). 

However, when it comes to my own death, I don't really have any specific requests. If whoever is going to take care of my body wants to bury me or cremate me, that's fine with me. Although it'd be nice to have an intimate memorial service for me, but I'm not sure if it can happen considering the fact that I have many more online friends (including my close friends) and my own family members from Indo live far away from here.

But bottom line is that I would like a most practical arrangements for myself after my death. And if I could have one request, it's that everybody who knows me in life should wear colourful clothes instead of wearing black. I want my death to remind them of the preciousness of life. But anyway, for the time being, let's just cherish each day we're still given...

P.S. I'd love to talk about this with hubby but I think I'm gonna wait a while 'coz it must still be too raw for him...


  1. A very poignant post, Amel. I'm particularly touched by your desire for bright colors to signify life. Like you, I cherish ever day...

    1. THANKS, Pamela...yeah, cherishing every day is really important, isn't it? :-)

  2. Love this post- thought-provoking, especially with what it means for us....

    Me, I admit, after realizing I couldn't have children, I became obsessed about what'd happen to me when I get old and die.. That then led me to look into that- and I just had completed "When I'm Gone: Practical notes for those you leave behind", pretty much a workbook, in which one can complete, which will greatly help my close friend, who agreed to be the executor of my wishes and will. At least, that is one thing less for me to worry about.

    And you're right, each day is to be cherished, even bad days, knowing that next day will be a good day. :)

    1. A workbook is a good idea. :-) It's good to have a close friend who'd execute your wishes and will. I think it's also beneficial for your close friend, knowing what you want. :-) That's why I want to find out what hubby wants - but I'll try to find time later. :-)

      Yep...storms don't last forever...that's true. :-) The sun will shine after the storm.


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