My Nan passed away recently and decided that she didn’t want to have a funeral. I can understand this to a point. I assume she didn’t want people spending money and she didn’t want a fuss.
We still had a family gathering, we still shared our memories and we still looked at photos of her throughout the years. We spoke about things we remembered and my Pa asked my cousin to sing ‘I Will Always Love You’ (Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton). I had prepared a little something to say. I wasn’t sure if there was going to be anything said and the celebrant part of me would have been really upset if others spoke and I hadn’t written something for the occasion.
It got me thinking and, I think more than I did before, that the funeral isn’t so much for the person that has died. Yes it is ABOUT them, but it isn’t FOR them. It is for the people left behind, heart broken, lost and grieving. It is about having a time and place to come together and to talk about this wonderful person that was a big or little part of our lives.
For me it is a time to reflect on the life that they had and the wonderful things that they did. The last few family members that passed away I have conducted the ceremony, so for me it’s very different than attending a funeral. I think that it is a really valuable time to even learn something about the person that you didn’t already know, even people that you have known all of your life. Other people can share stories and their memories and that way you can always learn something about people.
I’ve also blogged about planning your own funeral in the past and raised some questions about the details of your funeral and is that something that you would think about. Would you choose songs? Poems to be read?
Do you think it is part of the grieving process and seeing what they meant to other people helps with realising that they will not be forgotten? Every time I go to a funeral people always say how lovely it is to see people that they haven’t seen for years and that they wish it was under happier circumstances. I got to see cousins that I haven’t seen for around 20 years and cousins that I see every couple of years. I loved that part of it. It’s not the happiest of occasions but these are the people that see you at your worst. There was a lady who was there and I recognised her the instant that she walked in the door although I hadn’t seen her since I was a small child. It was one of my aunties oldest friends. I think a funeral teaches us a lot about family, and friendships and love.
What do you think? Do you think it is important to have a funeral? Or don’t think that it matters if you have one or not?
An Acknowledgement of Country is a way of showing awareness of and respect for the traditional Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander owners of the land on which a meeting or event is being held, and of recognising the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to their Country. There are a number of occasions where at the start of a meeting, a conference or a function of any sort that you can have an Acknowledgement of Country.
An Acknowledgement of Country is different from a Welcome to Country, only a Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, usually an Elder, would carry out a Welcome to country. This is to welcome visitors to their traditional land. It can be carried out in a number of ways, depending on the particular culture of the traditional owners. It can include singing, dancing, smoking ceremonies or a speech. This is dependent upon the location of the event and the practice of the community. There should be an amount of care undertaken to make sure that the appropriate Aboriginal representative is invited to undertake the Ceremony. It is extremely important that the Aboriginal person has been involved in and is comfortable with all of the arrangements.
Both a Welcome to Country and an Acknowledgement of Country recognise the unique position of Aboriginal people in Australian culture and history and show respect for Aboriginal people.
There are a lot of people who wish to have an Acknowledgement of Country included in the introduction to their wedding. What can be included when you don’t know the language group is :
I would like to show my respect and acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, of elders past and present, on which this event takes place.
or if you know the specific nation you can say:
I would like to acknowledge the _______________ people who are the Traditional Custodians of this Land. I would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present of the_______________ Nation and extend that respect to other Aboriginals present.
If you want to know more about Welcome to Country or an Acknowledgement of Country ceremonies there is great information on the Creative Spirits Website
A big thank you to Michael Thomas for the use of his stunning photos on the blog this week, you can look at more of his work here.
Most of us would have seen on Facebook or instagram by now this fun guest list manager. Its quite funny and a good idea to have a laugh. It is a good way to remind yourself too that it is your day and you’re (most likely) paying the bill.
Will they make your wedding more fun is an interesting part of this chart for me, really your wedding is about you and your partner, and you should have the people around you that mean a lot to you, it’s your wedding not a hens or bucks day. Maybe it should say something like, will it be special to have them with you on the day? Or do you want them there to see you and your partner exchange promises? I know that this chart is mainly for a laugh but some of the points have merit, or at least give you something to think about. The part about would normally buy dinner for them, maybe a strange question, but it is something to think about would you have dinner out with them, or your work friends maybe not necessarily do you see them out of work, because there are a few people at my work that I would be happy to spend time with out of work, but I generally just don’t have time, compared with hell no, please don’t let them be going to the same function as me type people that you work with.
I agree to an extent that if you parents are paying for some of the wedding they do get to have at least a small number of guests that they want added to the list. I think though that they should get to have some say, but really again it is your day. If there is someone that you really don’t want there maybe you can compromise. My mother in law wanted one of her longest friends at my husband and our wedding, but the friend had previously not been the nicest to my husband. We made sure that she wasn’t invited but my mother in law still had her two other best friends and partners invited on the day, we only had 42 guests, and we paid for the vast majority of the day ourselves so we really weren’t keen on having anyone we didn’t like there.
I’ve blogged before about wedding numbers and some of the other issues that you have with deciding on who to invite to your wedding. I don’t think it is really as cut and dry as this chart suggests. There are always some people on the list that you have to invite, and there are people that you invite knowing that they will not be able to make it on the day.
What do you think? Do you think that it can be as cut and dry and the chart suggests? What were some of the deciding factors that helped you decide if someone made your guest list or not?