Saturday, June 28, 2014

Planning a Funeral

My sweet brother in law, George, passed away recently  He'd been in a nursing home for a few years dealing with the effects of  Parkinson's Disease, but then he took a turn for the worse.  On  Monday, Hospice was called in and by Wednesday, he was gone.  It was a blessing  for him, but a terrible loss for the ones left behind.
We made preparations to drive to Kansas City.  I packed my portable office and my suitcase, and we were on the road Thursday morning for the 13 hour drive.
On Friday, we gathered with his wife and children to plan the funeral.   I sat with pen and paper and started  asking questions.  No one knew where to start or what to do.  Fortunately for them, I've had some experience with planning funerals,  so I scribbled an agenda and then filled in the blanks.  They were happy to have  someone just tell them what to do.  When you're grieving, it's just not possible  to think clearly.
Funeral Service  Agenda
Opening Remarks - Thank you for being  here today to celebrate the life of George A. Pierce
Opening  Prayer given by family member
Music - A hymn  chosen by the family and performed by someone the funeral home  provided
Eulogy -  I asked for a copy of the obituary  and then softened it up a bit to work for the eulogy.  I also asked more  detailed questions so we could share more about his life.  (You don't say much  when the newspaper is charging you by the word!)
Invitation -  for friends or family to come forward and share how George touched  their lives.
Music - A little non-traditional, but the  family wanted to play George's favorite country song for him one last time.  We  also thought it would lighten things up and reflect George's sense of humor.   The song was, "She Thinks my Tractor's Sexy," by Kenny Chesney.
Closing Prayer given by a family  member
The End.   The person conducting thanked everyone  for coming and invited them to come to the grave site.
At that point, the  funeral director came in and gave directions on how to exit the building and get  to the grave site.
At the grave site, we wanted a  prayer and to dedicate the ground where he would be put to rest.  We did a  Google search for the "ashes to ashes" scripture and found one in Genesis.
At that point, we dismissed and invited family to join us at the church where a nice meal had been provided for us.
I hope it's a long time before you have to help plan a funeral, but thought I'd  post this anyway.  Maybe it will be helpful to someone.
Rest in Peace,  George

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