Early in 2010, after being told in 2009 I had between 6 months and 2 years to live, I decided to partially pre-plan my funeral, hoping to remove some of the burden that would come immediately after my death. Not everything, but the basic information, which I have found when planning a loved one’s funeral can be quite hard to remember at the time. Things such as choosing music, or making a slide show or small video clip is a wonderful thing for your family to do when the final planning of your funeral takes place, as it helps them unite in their grief, allows them to reflect on your life and starts their healing. But the basic stuff, like where I was born, I wanted to get out of the way. So I asked one of my carers to come with me to one of the funeral homes. We were welcomed in, and taken into a room with other people who were obviously distressed over a loved one’s death. I said to the staff member of the home we are not with them. We were then ushered into an empty room, to wait for the funeral director I had booked to see. We were sitting quietly, contemplating the need for this action, and I suspect my carer was wishing she was with anyone else but me! Then the door opened, and a chap walked in, and as with the people in the first room, also in tears. He said to the usher, I am not with them. After a while, the funeral director I had booked to see came into the room, introducing herself and asking if we would like coffee or tea, then leaving the room to organise our order. Third time lucky I said to my carer. We waited again, not so silently this time, nowhere near as reflectively. And we waited. And we waited. And we waited. Eventually, in came a person with a tray of refreshments, hooray I thought. But alas, they were not for us, they were for the 7 people next door. Off she went again, to see what had happened to ours. Eventually they got their act together, our coffee arrived, the funeral director came in with the paperwork, and then proceeded to ask when are the others arriving? My carer and I looked at each other wondering what to say. I said the appointment was for me, we were there to pre-arrange my funeral as I was unwell. Oh, she said, you look so young. At last the paperwork was underway. Dates of weddings and divorces to remember, and endless other bureaucratic details required for someone to be buried. No music or pre-booked flowers, or other more personal things I believe others need to do as part of their healing and declaration of love for someone. So it was almost done, just a coffin to choose. I had the name of one I liked (remember, I was weird!!), but she said, they didn’t have that one in stock, she’d go and see if they had a brochure of it somewhere. Without hesitation, she left us in the room full of coffins and other interesting looking things. And again, we waited and waited, eventually to the point of it being oddly funny. I opened the door to see if I could work out how to get back to the room we had been in, but there were about 8 closed doors, and I didn’t want to interrupt anyone’s tears, so thought it best to stay put. We wandered around this gallery of coffins, talking about things like how would someone who is really fat fit into one of these? And so on! Then we discovered the urns, for ones ashes if they were going to be cremated. Next to each decorative urn were two small matching things, which looked like salt and pepper shakers. We wracked our brains as to what they were for, ultimately becoming almost hysterical imagining them on the dinner table, next to the urn as a table centre. We wondered if that was how some people might like to grieve, with their loved ones ashes with them as they ate? We are all different aren’t we? Some 30 minutes later, the funeral director rescued us, apologising that she had forgotten we were in there. At least now we could ask about the S & P shakers, which (of course) were for incense sticks. So you see, even planning a funeral can become fun, if you let it. I ask you, what else could we have done but laugh? All the way home, we did wonder if my funeral might end up being the same funny fiasco, but I decided at that moment, it would not matter to me, and it might just give everyone a really good laugh.