Using Humour During Mourning

Using Humour During Mourning

Earlier this week a great British comedian that we all know and love passed away. At just 56, Rik Mayall suddenly passed away in his home. It is always regretful to hear of those who have passed away, especially those who spent their lives entertaining us with their big personalities.

using humour during mourning

 

What has been intriguing at the passing of Rik, is the level of humour used by fans as well as his close friend and longtime collaborator, Adrian Edmondson. A short time after the death was announced, Adrian led the tributes with a humorously warm sentiment;

"There were times when Rik and I were writing together when we almost died laughing. They were some of the most carefree stupid days I ever had, and I feel privileged to have shared them with him.

And now he's died for real. Without me. Selfish b*****d."

In the circumstances of a comedian passing away, it seems almost ridiculous not to include humour in funeral arrangements. It's a natural course for those close to them to use as a tool to memorialise them. Is it the same for people who are mourning the loss of their loved one to apply this sort of memorialisation?

 

The question is, when is it ok to use humour during mourning?

There are a few etiquette points to consider. Of course you should take each of these with a grain of salt depending on the person who's life you are celebrating.

 

What are the circumstances?

The foremost thing you should consider is the circumstances in which someone has passed away. Was it a tragic accident or was it due to natural causes? If it was an accident (a car crash for example), then it is unlikely that humour is an appropriate response. Perhaps after an acceptable period of time has elapsed, humour could be shared to reflect and reminisce on the loved one.

 

Was the loved one a humorous person?

Some people are born to entertain others. This certainly was the case for Rik who spent years entertaining people the world over in shows like Blackadder and Bottom. So to be using humour at the time of his passing can be considered appropriate since much of his identity was that of a comic genius. It would have been odd to have hosted a traditional service for someone so naturally left of centre.

 

Who is left behind?

When a loved one passes away, the memorial and burial process is very much focused on the one we lost. However, it is also very much about the people still left behind. Rik sadly leaves behind a wife and three children who are having to deal with a sudden loss in a very public space. It is quite important that we consider those close to the deceased and their current emotional state when using humour to mourn and grieve.

 

Approach with sensitivity

If you're unsure, the safest and most sensible thing to do would be to refrain from making any insensitive comments, especially in a public sphere (social media etc). But if you feel it is something you must express, send your humorous message in a private message or email, giving the recipient the opportunity to respond when they are ready. Even someone with an outrageous sense of humour on a normal day may have no mental space for humour while they are mourning. Be careful with timing in these circumstances.

 

When considering the planning for a less traditional funeral, heres a guide to what can be included:

(Image of Rik and Adrian sourced from The Guardian)life-celebration

We're here to help

Lady Anne Funerals is here to support and assist your family through what can be a difficult time, with a ladies touch. 

We are available to discuss a range of services to support your family, including: 

  • Personalised memorial services
  • Cremation and burial services
  • Religious services catering to all faith's
  • No service, no attendance 

Please get in touch - night or day - via the form or you can call us on the number below.

Phone: 1300 74 00 74

904 Victoria Road, West Ryde 2114

Let's Talk

Some of the families we've helped

“I just wanted to send you our sincerest thanks for everything you and your incredible team did for us in making the most perfect day, celebration and farewell of our beautiful Harper.

I have given a lot of thought to your business and the industry and I think it is perhaps the most important business for families to get it right when it comes to planning a funeral which may be sudden or may be a long time in the making. Either way, when one is faced with the unfortunate situation of needing to arrange a funeral, only then do you realise the importance of getting it right.

We experienced first hand the polar opposites the industry offers. It is not just about the cars, the booklets, the music and all the things that make up the day - its about the service, the care and most importantly it’s about the people.

From our very first conversation we could sense your genuine care to our situation and your attention to detail was obvious - this was very different to the previous conversations we had with others we had been referred to. Those other companies wanted to commence meetings with the paperwork side of things upfront which is a very confronting thing to do just days after losing your loved one - and when one of the others that I am referencing couldn’t even refernece our daughters name as our meeting started - we were horrified of how poor the service of care could be.

This is where you and your team shine. After feeling very lost in our search to secure the perfect funeral director to create the perfect day, my wife all of a sudden recalled you standing out the front of your office each morning watering the surrounding gardens to ensure a beautiful front of house. Well, I can assure you, it is not just the front of house that is beautiful - its the entire package that is beautiful.

Your manner, your direction and your expertise is evident from the get go. Nothing is too hard for you or your amazing team. The personal care made us feel like we were the only funeral you were working with at the time, and that’s exactly how it should be.

The finer detail, such as driving past our house so our daughter could go past our house one last time, then leaving the most beautiful flowers on our doorstep, to bumping into us at the Church because you were just doing your own research to make sure the day was seamless. This combined with your recommendations from every aspect as everything was very foreign to us, you were able to guide us to achieve the most beautiful farewell.

The day itself was simply perfect. Not once did we have a concern. The car was shining, your team dressed beautifully, cold water provided for us, directions for our guests, directions for us. Everyone commented on how amazing the day was and how incredibly your team were. Seamless is the only word I can use. It doesn’t stop here.

Your personal care and guidance then allowed us a more intimate farewell the following day (we are so grateful for for this recommendation and possibly would have missed this special day if you had suggested it was the best idea). Again, you and your team made us feel like you had nowhere else to be, and no one else to help. Just us. The setting was beautiful, the celebrant (that you arrange and recommend) is a delightful, your team make this day even more special than the last.

This is something we never want to go through again but there will be so many others, that like us, have no idea where to start to look for the right funeral director for their own special day. All I can say is that I hope that they appoint Lady Anne Funerals. We learnt a lot quickly and it is again a business many do not ever consider needing but without question one of the most important businesses to select the right person and the right team.

I welcome any of your future potential clients to contact me if they wish to discuss our experience with the amazing Lady Anne team. We thank you for giving our beautiful baby the most incredible farewell that was exactly how we imagined it, you just made it happen.”

photo02_harper
Lee Dowdall
Karen has supported my Mum and me through the most difficult week of our lives as we not only planned a funeral, but interred my Dad to his new home. I will be forever grateful to Karen for her ongoing support, guidance, kindness, empathy and friendship over the last week. Karen has now become part of our extended circle of close family friends.
Daughter of the late Sveta Dordevich
Lady Anne Funerals has the compassion, understanding and empathy that many of the larger funeral homes do not possess. My aunts funeral was dignified and classy everything she deserved. I would highly recommend Lady Anne (and have) as they go above and beyond.
Joanne Marks
I am overwhelmed with the feedback on how beautiful it all was from all who attended. You and the other ladies were wonderful, looked so elegant, and made the day so very special for all who loved Paul.
Barbara Sommerville Enright
Karen and her staff treated us with the utmost respect we could not have been in better hands during this difficult time. My mum had organised her funeral with a prepaid funeral plan which she had purchased from Karen almost ten years ago this also made this upsetting time much easier to deal with and she got all the things that she wished for.
Malcolm Ellis
On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Lady Anne Funerals for a beautiful service yesterday for my aunt Dot. All who attended commented on how lovely the service was & the professionalism of all the staff. Thanks again very much for helping making a sad day one of celebration of Dot’s life.
Judith Neville

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