Wednesday, December 9, 2015


"Wow. This is like the season of death," my daughter commented.

Within a matter of days, a sweet friend lost her son, a second friend passed away unexpectedly, a third friend lost his father, a fourth friend lost her mother, and another friend was in the hospital fighting for her life.

Seems like we have been attending funerals almost weekly. Maybe it's the funerals, or maybe it's being 50-something, but I've been thinking a lot lately about my own funeral, too.

When folks are sitting in the pews at my send-off celebration, what do I want them to hear? What do I want them to take away when the service is over?

Most emphatically, I do NOT want folks in the pews to be given a litany of my virtues:  "She was a faithful wife, a devoted mother, a prayerful Christian, a godly woman..." No, no, no, and no! Please, no! I do desire to be all of those things; but I am more painfully aware than anyone of how far short I fall of being any of them. Please, at my funeral, just don't even go there.

Rather, I want those gathered to hear about my faithful God and my devoted Savior. I want them to be reminded that Dead Camille is eternally secure not because of anything that I did, but because of what Jesus did on my behalf.

Anything that might be labeled as a Good Work - sacrifices for my family, homeschooling my children, loving and praying for my church, ministry to others... - roll all that stuff in a wad and toss it in the Filthy Rags bin. Don't waste time talking about those things.

Instead, talk about the grace of God. Talk about how God, in his great mercy, pursued this sinful, broken, messed up woman, pursued her and wooed her and won her to himself, and is keeping her for eternity.

Talk about how God was faithful in my life, even when my faith was weak. Talk about how God was good and kind and patient, even when I proved repeatedly how very wicked, unkind, and impatient I could be - both toward him and toward others.

Please, if you love me, I'd rather you not talk about me at all. Talk about my beautiful Jesus instead.

When my funeral is over, I don't want a single person to walk out thinking, "Camille was such a wonderful woman," because I know the truth, and I wasn't.

No! I want every single person - whether they know and love Jesus or not - to walk out saying, "What an amazing God, to love sinful Camille so completely!"

(And after my funeral, if folks want to have a pot-luck with fried chicken and chocolate pie, followed by a jam session and singing, I'm totally okay with that - just in case you're wondering.)


troal said...


And if you go before I do, I'll dedicate a rousing rendition of "Crazy Train" to you.

Camille said...

:D RB, that would be perfectly appropriate!!!

Suzanne said...

Camille, you just asked for a Catholic Requiem Mass. The Catholic tradition is to have no eulogy whatsoever. The Requiem Mass is said to commit the deceased to the mercy of God in offering with the Perfect Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

In consideration for modern American Catholics, most priests say a homily meant to console the bereaved, but that is totally optional. The actual graces received by the Faithful by praying the Mass, even without a homily, are more valuable than consolation of the bereaved. And then from my personal experience, Catholics have the bestest post-funeral parties of all.

Inside the Sanctuary, the Divine Liturgy is totally Christo-centric and beautifully hopeful and upbeat. No dreary music is necessary nor offered to bring everyone to the brink of tears, just in case the deceased is not sorely missed. The most beautiful funeral I have ever attended was said by a priest for his own father and con-celebrated with dozens of priests and bishops.

When I die, I want a full-tilt Latin Requiem Mass and a post-burial party in the parish hall like only the Bereavement Committee can put on.