Friday, March 5, 2010


Eulogy [noun] (yoo luh jee)

  1. Speech in praise of someone
While holding open car doors, packing up church flowers, and warming up the hearse, I've often heard family members, friends, and mourners wish they could be at their own funeral just so they could hear their eulogy.  

As a former funeral attendant, I find this to be an ... unfortunate desire. 
I've heard a number of eulogies in my time: some short, some long; some funny, some heartbreaking; some uttered in conspiratorial tones for those in-the-know, some pushed through sobs, tissues, and snot.  Most speeches are glowing - highlighting the best aspects of the person as if a postmortem halo will magically appear over all the darker, sneakier, and self-serving acts in that person's life.  But that's to be expected - we're taught to never speak ill of the dead.
As if those six-feet under would die all over again to hear a negative word uttered about their former existence.   But, perhaps, the opposite would be truer  - they'd die to hear nothing but the positive. 
It is that consideration that makes me cringe when hearing mourners wish to listen in on their own eulogies - because what they would hear is neither about the person they were or even the life others thought they lived.  What they would hear is a Sainthood that never existed; perfection that can only exist in death.

If I heard nothing but my praises, in my semi-zombie-ghost-possessed-angelic state, I would think, "Well, I guess no one really knew me at all."

And that is no way to start an afterlife. 

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