It was an unconventional funeral, to say the least. My sister is firmly in the "don't want any fuss" camp when it comes to burials, and she went ahead and organised a funeral which basically involved putting Dad in a cardboard box, whacking him in a hole in the ground in a field and then pissing off down the pub.
My brother and I wanted a bit more ceremony, especially as we got a lot of stick from relatives after we did not invite anyone to our mother's cremation, in accordance with her wishes. Hell, even I did not go to my mother's funeral, and neither did her father, who outlived her by about 5 years.
Though I am not religious - quite the opposite, in fact - I do think some form of ceremony is necessary, to let out all the emotions and to tighten family bonds.
So, with my sister's permission, we organised a small ceremony for my Dad in the barn near the field in which he was buried.
I am no stranger to standing up in front of a crowd making an idiot of myself, so I volunteered to act as master of ceremonies. My brother spoke a eulogy, and my cousin, who lavished love and attention on my father far beyond the call of duty in his final years, read a self-penned poem.
It was all going all right until I came to give my own personal eulogy. Then I realised why it is good to have a "neutral" person there, whether it be a Humanist facilitator or a vicar or whatever.
As you might expect, I was in fits of tears but managed to pull it back together and tell a string of Dad type jokes, including the one my father probably told more often than any other:
Every day, me and the dog go for a tramp in the woods. The dog really enjoys it, but the tramp's getting pretty fed up with it.
My brother did an excellent job of choosing music for the funeral: Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World for the uplifting exit, Bread's Everything I own for the reflective feature song during the service.
For the scene setting music at the start of music I found a classical version of The Theme From Alfie (no offence Cilla, but you sing like you are throwing up), plus an excellent vocal rendition by Alison Moyet. Why Alfie? Because that was my Dad's name. In between the versions of Alfie, I played the highly appropriate My Friend The Sun by Family.
The weather was fantastic, we all paid homage to a wonderful man, then we went back to my sister's and stuffed our faces and guzzled lots of Jameson's.