Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't Bury me in a Suit!

When we picture a funeral in our mind, or see one portrayed in a movie, its usually a pretty formal affair. The men are all in dark suits and the ladies are in long black dresses. For better or worse, the reality is often very different. At many funerals and especially visitations, very casual clothing has become the norm, and that's why I am often surprised when families mention so sheepishly that they would rather dad not wear a suit in his casket.
Personally, I think this situation is completely backwards from the way it should be. When we attend the funeral services for someone else, it's about them, and we should dress respectfully. We don't need to necessarily go out and buy something new, but if we own something nice, we should by all means go to the trouble of wearing it to the funeral and visitation.

When we are at our own funeral, it's about us, and if we never liked to be in anything but our bib overalls, that's what we should be buried in. There are some people who would never want to be caught dead in a suit. If they are alive, they can dress up out of respect for the occasion, but when they die, don't let them be caught dead in that suit.

I've buried people in their bib overalls, jeans, military and athletic uniforms (they often don't fit like they did 40 years ago), cowboy duds, Norwegian sweaters, black leather and pajamas. They looked great, and I believe that burying some of them in a suit would have been a crime.
When I die, though, please bury me in a nice suit. Fold the handkerchief in my breast pocket just right, and make sure my tie has a nice dimple in the middle.
(originally posted 12/19/08)


Leila Marvel said...

This is so interesting, I think you are right some people wouldn't be caught dead in one, but it is funny you mention certain attire. My husband has told me what he wants to be buried in, hopefully a suit, but under his suit his danzig tshirt, doc martins. And he has given me a list of what he wants to be buried with, some of his belongings like his childhood mustard yellow blanket, the book the talisman, a particular comic book.

Do you have any previous articles you've written on people's personal affects?

Patrick McNally said...

Yes, it's called 'You Can Take it With You' and was posted in November. You can look in the archive, or just click on the picture of the 'Hell Bank Note' with LBJ on it. Thanks for your interest, Pat

Quimbob said...

Last funeral I attended, I had to rush out & get a new suit (too fat for the old one). Went to a Mens Wearhouse or something. Besides myself there were 2 other guys there buying suits for funerals.

Katie said...

What a great glimpse into your life Patrick...and one of the many small things that really do make funerals so personal and beautiful.
Maybe when I die I will combine all ( or some anyway)of your great insights and ideas you share into one ecclectic, wonderful funeral/celebration. :0) All the best.

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