Why I’ve decided to organise my own funeral ceremony

PUBLISHED: 21:36 29 September 2019 | UPDATED: 21:36 29 September 2019

Marianne Gibbs has decided to arrange her own funeral and chosen her own exit music

Marianne Gibbs has decided to arrange her own funeral and chosen her own exit music


Death is inevitable, so why leave arranging your own funeral to someone else? Marianne Gibbs is glad she’s taken care of her own funeral service already

I recently went to a funeral. This is some thing I'm doing more and more often as I get older.

So far, the people who have passed have been much older than me and therefore the death hasn't come as a great surprise; but last week the person was just 75, only two years older than me.

The strong feeling that the chap was short-changed has stayed with me. He wasn't family or a close friend; but he was somebody I had known for a number of years, saw about the village quite often and was on my Christmas card list. Consequently I was really saddened when I got the news.

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It brought home to me the realisation that one day possibly in the near future, I will start going to the funerals of my close friends and family then experience real grief, not just sadness. Then again, I might not. I cannot assume I will be the last woman standing - I might be the first one to go. With this in mind I decided to buy a funeral plan and organise my ceremony myself so I could control everything from the grave.

The choice of burial or cremation was quite straight forward as was the decision to use Earlham Road Crematorium over St Faiths. I've got nothing against St Faiths, you understand - and thanks to the NDR, it's probably easier to drive to from Brundall. No, what made me choose Earlham was going to the funeral of a neighbour. Those of you familiar with attending these events will know that you don't leave the building by the same door you went in and at my neighbours do, as the final music was being played, the staff opened the exit door and there on the wall outside was a large sign that said 'TOILETS'.

I've been blessed with an extremely efficient pair of kidneys, from a health point of view that's great, but it does mean I need the lav. more often than most people. Almost hourly in fact, so when I'm out with friends they often remark on the amount of times I need to go compared to them, seeing that sign will make them smile. Being able to smile or even laugh at an occasion like this is important I feel, none the less, I want a fair bit of weeping and wailing in order to have my moneys worth out of the quite expensive plan.

To this end, the choice of music was paramount. It was also the most difficult thing to choose. Frank Sinatra's My Way has been done to death, (sorry), as has Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I wanted something more 'me', something no one else was likely to choose and so I turned to the internet for advice. Fortunately there are several sites for music suggestions where it is possible to listen to several versions of the same piece, but nothing was quite right for me.

I've got a quirky sense of humour, a bit on the dark side and not to everyone's taste, but hey, this is my bash, I'm paying for it and the sandwiches afterwards, therefore I'll have what I want, what I really really want. I'm not going to describe the whole service, as that is private, but for my committal I'm having Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Good Bye.

It's the ideal piece of music for watching the curtains close round my cardboard coffin. Hopefully the attendees will find it funny. Sadly, I won't be there to see it - or will I?

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