The decline in health of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman was far from a laughing matter. What began as a routine dental appointment revealed a tumour that would prove harbinger to his death, little over a year later.
Visiting Chapman’s death-bed, fellow Python John Cleese was so upset, he needed assistance to leave the room. Yet just weeks later, he gave this hilarious eulogy to honour his friend:
There is only one John Cleese. Few others (if any) could pull off such an audacious speech without causing offence or upset. But, humour can have a place in any funeral.
In my own services, I still get surprised looks when recounting funny stories; the wave of uncertainty growing on the assembled faces. I can almost hear them ask themselves, “Can I laugh?”; and the tangible wave of relief when they do.
What I take from this.
Humour is healthy. Believed by many to contribute to both physical and psychological wellbeing, humour only exists in situations of awkwardness, discomfort or unease. Humour is there to help us deal with these feelings.
Used well, humour at a funeral is not disrespectful. Instead:
Death is awful. But the gatherings held in honour of those we’ve lost, don’t focus on just their end. Nor should they. Funerals also talk about their lives:
This is where humour has a place.
This is where humour can help us deal with some of the toughest emotions we ever experience.
What are your thoughts?
What funny stories could be told at your funeral?
Let us know in the comments below
Join me on a journey to learn more about the end of life, death, and funerals; all from a positive perspective. Every two weeks, a new post will explore this important life-stage; asking what we can learn from those going before us, and how we can apply that knowledge to better our lives.