26 May 2022

Instructions

David Jason as Del Boy

I was at another funeral this week. The deceased was a neighbour I had known for thirty three years though it was only within the last four or five years that we would stand in the street and have a nice chat together. Previously it had just been polite "hellos".

He was eighty seven though you would never have guessed it. He had a full head of hair and was well-groomed and upright. What lines there were upon his face spoke of laughter and contentment, not pain nor self-pity. He had lived a happy life and enjoyed a long marriage that spanned sixty seven years. He had three daughters, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.

He was Jewish but his wife was Church of England and they were living proof that religiously mixed marriages can work out just fine. You don't need to marry within the faith you were born into though I guess this is easier to claim in a  tolerant city like Sheffield than in some other parts of the world.

What I mainly want to say about Gerry's funeral is that he gave very clear instructions. He left his financial affairs in  order and wrote down exactly what he wanted to happen on the day he was laid to rest. This included a recording of him singing "My Way" with a backing group.  It was a very tolerable and original rendition from a man who was obviously confident in his singing ability.

In the second half of his working life Gerry became a successful wheeler dealer within the motor trade. He built his own independent business and made many of his customers happy with the deals he worked out for them. Jokingly, he was sometimes likened to a British sitcom character called Derek Trotter or Del Boy who appeared  in "Only Fools and Horses". Thus, as Gerry's coffin was carried from the chapel into the sunlit cemetery, the music that accompanied the procession was that programme's theme song:-

Stick a pony in me pocket
I'll fetch the suitcase from the van
'Cos if you want the best ones
But you don't ask questions
Then brother, I'm your man

Cause where it all comes from is a mystery
It's like the changing of the seasons
And the tides of the sea
But here's the one that's driving me berserk:
Why do only fools and horses work?

Needless to say, Gerry had reserved his own burial plot in a quiet corner of the cemetery and that's where he was laid to rest. His immediate family cast single roses into the hole where his coffin had just been lowered.

Will you be leaving any instructions for your final departure?  What will you request?

40 comments:

  1. Is this a game of commenters finish the blog post? I'll have a go...You don't need to marry within the faith your born into though it helps.

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  2. Why do I suddenly feel I will regret my comment.

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    1. No reason for regret Andrew. It makes sense to me.

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  3. Further proof that love is love.

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  4. Gerry was highly organized and lived a very productive life. when He left , he had his affairs organized so that there was very little left to do. You had a very good friend.

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    1. I wish I had known him better. It's nice to know people with sunny dispositions.

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  5. I want everyone to tell a joke at my funeral, preferably a dirty joke, but any joke will do. And then I want my ashes scattered in the mountains on a beautiful summer day.

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    1. Dirty jokes at funerals? I will have to do some research on that!

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    2. I am a fan of dirty jokes.

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  6. Like Janis Joplin, whatever money I leave should be spent on a party, not a funeral. And always keep laughing!

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    1. Some of the money should be saved to pay for my return flight to Arizona.

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  7. Sure do. Bought and paid for. Explicit instructions for my offspring.

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  8. Cremation, only family & close friends at burial, brief non-religious message from an atheist-tolerant minister or funeral home person. The less cost and fuss, the better. My husband knew this, I made sure he did because I truly always thought I'd die first. Now my kids know it instead. Will you be writing a post about your own instructions/requests?

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    1. To tell you the truth I never even thought about my final instructions because I shall live forever.

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  9. I'd like to leave instructions for my final departure but one son is against what I want. I want to leave my body to the medical teaching school, so they can learn from it. Son doesn't want anybody cutting up his dear old mum. my other choice is to be left to the "Body Farm" for forensics studies. Son doesn't like that idea either.

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    1. Son should respect your wishes and promise to follow them through.

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  10. Do I remember David Jason from Open All Hours?

    I have specified that the smallest possible amount of money be spent on my demise. There is no need for an expensive plot or headstone, no need for an expensive coffin.
    A nice shroud and a natural burial would be my preference but natural burial is not yet available here so we will see....
    I remember a family funeral where we stood around a piano and sung songs. It would be wonderful if people could do that but I don't think that is likely, either.

    And I forbid that every man and his dog do a eulogy. One is sufficient

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    1. Yes indeed - David Jason was in "Open All Hours" I am surprised that "natural" burials are not available in OZ.

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  11. I would like a woodland burial. No coffin just a shroud. I like the thought of becoming one with the earth.
    My biggest passion is for gardening. I spend all my time either in the garden or down the allotment so to really become part of it feels like I will be part of what I love.

    No other instructions except have a few drinks and remember me fondly.

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    1. I would have a woodland burial too but I am bothered about the moles.

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  12. Gerry sounds like a decent character and fun-loving man. His family and friends will miss him.
    As for leaving a will and instructions, I should know about what the sudden death of a person who has left nothing written means… and yet, I have not prepared anything myself. It is wise to do that rather sooner than later, though.

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    1. In this I am the same as you - ill-prepared. Perhaps I will live forever.

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  13. I have occasionally thought about leaving some after-party instructions but then realised there would be little point as I wouldn't be there. Whoever may be left behind can dispose of my in whichever way they wish.

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  14. We have to accept we can't go on forever, and he seems to have done so and prepared well. A good example. Get started Mr. P. I have. It feels a bit like tidying up at work when getting ready to retire. But I hope we're both still here and taking the p. out of each other for a good few years yet.

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    1. But there's no "p" in Tasker Dunham. Good hydration is vital.

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  15. Although I haven't committed it to writing yet, I have made my final decisions known. My mom told us ahead of time that she didn't want a funeral in any way, shape or form. She just wanted to be cremated and scattered and so she was. A year after her death, we did invite all her friends and family to the farm and had a cookout on the lawn while people casually stood up now and then and told some story of their memories with my mom. I really enjoyed that day and think mom would have loved it too.

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  16. Worrying that our affairs are not in order keeps me awake at night. Good for Gerry for getting everything worked out before he left.

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    1. That must have really helped Maureen (his widow) and his three daughters too.

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  17. I've told my children that I don't want any service or burial. I'll just be cremated and they can scatter me wherever they will remember me at. We've talked of a few places that have been special to me and them but they can decide.

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  18. I've told my husband many times that I want to be cremated after death, (and to skip the fancy urn.) My husband, on the other hand, has made it clear to me he wants a coffin, a service, a burial, and a large party. It's just hitting me now that if we were to die tragically together, our varying funeral arrangements might clash. Are they going to wheel my husband's fancy coffin into the room of waiting mourners with my cheap plastic bag of ashes sitting on top?

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    1. I believe that that is what they call dark humour Melinda! Very dark!

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  19. Cremation. Though I am not being scattered in this part of Yorkshire, too cold;)

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    1. You should be scattered in ancient place that really means something to you.

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  20. To play some Thin Lizzy or Kansas track like " Dust In The Wind".

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    1. Jean will probably order some Bucks Fizz just for devilment.

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  21. We've bought our plot in the local cemetery (didn't fancy cremation) and paid for our funerals so there's less hassle for our son to deal with when the time comes. We chose a good spot overlooking the river Tay so anyone who comes to visit will have a nice view! It gives me comfort to know it's all arranged.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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