Readings at funerals

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Alsacien, Feb 26, 2013.

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  1. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    I need tips, I am out of my depth on this one.

    I have been asked to make a reading at a big funeral, a civvy one, and very tragic circumstances.
    Supposedly I am the rufty tufty ex-military guy who can carry it off with the voice and presence the family would like, so I don't want to end up blubbing like a schoolgirl at the front of a church full of people - at least not until I have gotten through it:

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning's hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there. I did not die.

    It only happened yesterday, and at the moment I cannot even read it without getting a dust problem. I am also acutely aware of the Cummins/Amos funeral connection in 1989.

  2. had to do it myself for my sister
    no easy way
    keep your head up high take your time
    and be proud that your friends asked you to do this because it is indeed an honour and for them something which will help the greiving process
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Had to do the same at my brother's funeral recently. Don't think about the negatives, and - strangely - enjoy the experience as per Joshua Slocum's comments. It is an honour.

    *** I don't mean "enjoy" in the common meaning of the word, but don't know how to express. Relax/don't sweat it is maybe a better turn of phrase.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Don't take your avatar along
    • Like Like x 5
  5. From experience.
    You can memorise it - then be sure to pick a spot without any faces to recite it to (above any heads).
    You can read it staring at the printed words.
    Practice until you can say it without choking.
    Or do as I did. Make it real, feel the words, choke, tears and stop for a few seconds. Recite out real loud and look at the relevant people.
    TBH it is more real and much respect earned. Without the emotion the words just can't be real.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    Totally ignore everything which is going on beforehand if you can. Don't get caught up speaking to family and friends, try not to listen to the service, don't sing the hymns etc. You are not there to take part in the funeral, you are there to do a job.

    While you are waiting to read, pick a fixed place on the wall and focus on it to the exclusion of everything else around you, concentrating on the reading and how you intend to give it.

    Hopefully by doing this you will have kept yourself a little bit removed from the emotion of everyone and everything around you, leaving you free to do the best you can on the reading. During the reading try to look up at the congregation, but avoid eye contact with the immediate family or really emotional friends unless you are really feeling in control.

    Once it is done, sit down, take a deep breath and then fall apart if you want to - the command appointment is finished!
    • Like Like x 6
  7. Did it at my Dads, had my wife ready with exactly the same words printed up for her in case I didn't make it... Did ok, just don't make eye contact with anyone [especially the front rows] until you're done, and didn't need the wife but she was there just in case.....
  8. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Says it all really. Forget yourself. Forget your mate. And crack on.
  9. Did it for my Grandad.

    Being the only currently serving member of even my extended family, I signed out a set of No1's, polished my medals, and tipped up in immacculate condition as I know he'd have loved it.

    Half way through the reading I knew I was losing it, so I either stared at the script or at the far wall above eye contact with people. Everyone said afterwards the efforts I had gone to and the fact I barely made it through anyway just showed how much it meant to me.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    Practice and then practice some more - ask if you can have a run through a couple of times in the church prior to the service.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    Only done it the once but found it very cathartic.

    I rehearsed it often, on runs and in the sauna and managed to crack it without a crib-sheet. I did look around and at individuals and at the coffin.

    I got dressed up in No1 Dress (top tip - if you're helping carry the coffin to the grave have some padding, otherwise you'll have a hole punched into your shoulder).
  12. . Don't worry if you cry, It just shows you are human and that you care, everyone else will be in a similar position.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. I didn't set foot in the church for maybe 15 years before my brother's funeral, although I had grown up around the building. Practice in private until you are happy with what you're going to say. I found eye contact was better for me, but not for too long on each individual. You are there to comfort others, and the Duke's say, you are there to do a job - crack on and do the best that you can.

    As Brotherton Lad says - I found it very cathartic, and perhaps that was the word I was looking for.
  14. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    Thanks guys, everything taken on board.
    I'll head up there tomorrow and give it my best Ian Paisley from the lectern or whatever they have, and do some wall target acquisition.....
  15. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    Also, as cheesy as it sounds, think about the piece you are reading. I had to read the same one at a family funeral recently, and it is actually quite a positive piece.
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