Funeral Home Employees Divulge The Weirdest Requests They've Ever Gotten
Image by RitaE from Pixabay

Death is scary. It brings the unknown of the great beyond, whether that's heaven, some other afterlife, or total nothingness, depending on what you believe.

But there is one perk that comes with death: total control of your funeral.


Think about it. You have a captive audience for the whole day. They're all going to be so intentional about respecting your memory that it would really take something huge to upset them.

That, my friends, is a time to push the envelope and take some liberties with that ceremony.

Many Redditors who work in the funeral industry have firsthand experience witnessing recently deceased people exercising that power through wills, parting words, and even pre-death meetings.

Some people have gotten quite creative.

hurtfocker asked, "Funeral home workers and owners: what's the weirdest request you've gotten regarding a deceased person?"

A good amount of people treat their funerals college parties.

They go with a theme they imagine everyone will enjoy, try to inject some sarcastic humor into the planning, and see how it all plays out

Let the Games Begin 

"I got a request for the deceased to be dressed up in a Where's Waldo costume and to have 12 other identical caskets in the room so the guests could try to guess where he was by opening coffins randomly."

"Each guest was to play this guessing game and then sit down before the next person could enter so everyone could play the game."

"Problem was not everyone wanted to play the game.....super odd but they paid a lot for it."

-- ramontgomery

Dead In a Faraway Galaxy 

"The deceased was a huge Star Wars fan and left explicit instructions for his funeral."

"As funeral organist, I was requested to play Star Wars principal themes on the grand pipe organ for prelude music, processional and recessional."

"As I once described, pall bearers were dressed in main characters costumes and "Obi-Wan Kenobi" gave an inspired eulogy, drawing upon memorable moments from the series."

"Using 'full organ' (all the stops out) for climatic moments, I played the Imperial March at the conclusion of the funeral before those in attendance departed for the cemetery for the committal."

-- Back2Bach

A True Celebration of the Life He Lived 

"I'm a florist, and I've created some unique tributes out of fresh flowers, and more."

"I made a putting green two feet across, complete with ball, tee and a club for an avid golfer. I constructed a fish out of various blooms and leaves, placed by a lakeside foliage spray. I've made rainbows and black and white themed arrangements. I put a lot of heart into memorial pieces."

"A few years ago, I was helping a family decide on their tributes for a much-loved man. The wife stressed he was known for his big blue Giant Eagle truck, and most of their friends were from the driver's union."

"I volunteered myself for a watercolor picture of the truck around which I would design a floral spray. It took four attempts, but I was finally happy, and framed it."

"Two days later, I received the most wonderful letter from his wife, and said that everyone agreed it was the most appropriate and important statement about his life. It will sit on her mantle for the rest of her life."

-- cavepainted

Friends Til the Very End 

"My family owns a grave digging business as well as lawn and garden statues, someone purchased an 8ft tall gorilla statue."

"My dad delivered it and asked what they were going to do with it and where they were putting it, the guys said their friends dying wish was to be stuffed up this concrete gorillas a**, and that's what they did."

"They drilled a whole in the a** and put their buddies ashes inside"

-- hayhay428

There also appears to be a strange obsession with eye sockets and eyeballs. Many funeral workers have fielded requests involving what exactly to do with eyes.

All of them are completely unnerving, of course.

Always Watching 

"My husband found out they can make gems out of cremains, and now he wants to be reduced to 2 jewels seated in his own eye sockets."

"I don't want a skull! I don't want to own his skull! I don't want him to watch me with his evil gem eyes!"

-- ParadiseSold

For Science 

"My own will requests that my right eye be removed, preserved and delivered to my oncologist in Miami for him to do with whatever he sees fit."

"Hopefully as a teaching aid to new optometry students, but if he wants to use it for pranks I'm totally fine with that too."

"I survived a very unusual eye cancer and they had to do all kinds of experimental things to repair it when all was done. I jokingly suggested I donate it to science when I went and he said that was an amazing idea. So, here you go."

"I hope whoever deals with my corpse has fun with that request."

-- zerbey

One Last Look 

"My wife's uncle asked the funeral director when he dies he would like his eyes open in the casket during his viewing."

"His entire life everyone commented on his big baby blue eyes and he wanted them open for people to see one last time."

-- Agreeable-Scratch424

And finally, sometimes it's not all wine and roses when the close of life comes along.

People live complicated lives full of strained dynamics with family and friends. And often, that comes to a head right at the final moment.

One Last F-You

"One rich guy hated his kids and didn't want them to get a cent of his wealth. He therefore wanted all his money to spent on a mausoleum for his coffin with a rose garden around it and the eternal upkeep thereof."

"He had the city council-approved architectural plans for the mausoleum included in his will and testament."

"He demanded in his will that the remaining funds, after construction, must go to a gardening service to maintain the rose garden and clean off the bird poop from his mausoleum in perpetuity until the money runs out in a few centuries."

"The mausoleum is in Cemetery de Saint Rambert outside Lyon, France."

-- JingoisticJeremiah

Utter Indifference 

"My coworker was meeting a client who was picking up his mother's cremains. My coworker has the client sign a release, then hands him the urn."

The man immediately turns around and drops the urn into the trash can."

"My coworker is a 40 year funeral director veteran, and without missing a beat, he says, 'Sir, I can understand your strong feelings about your mother, but I cannot allow you to leave that here. What you do once you get out the door is up to you and God.' "

"Dude picked up the urn and left without a word."

-- keliez

To Reflect What She Was Like, Or Never Did?

"My mom asked the embalmer to put a few stitches in my grandma's cheeks to give her a faint smile.

"At the time it seemed like an odd, even slightly morbid request, but 20+ years on, it's one of the only things I remember from her funeral. It was kind of lovely, actually."

-- Fearless_Lab

Photo Op

"Not a mortician, but an EMT."

"I had a family ask to take pictures of their deceased adult child immediately after we stopped resuscitation efforts. There's tubes sticking out of the individual, discoloration, lifeless skin, hastily cut clothes, medical equipment strewn about, all of this uncomfortably taking place in a narrow corner in a crudely built and overfilled add on to a run down house... it was not a peaceful scene."

"The lead medic allowed it, but I almost intervened... I just couldn't think of a soft way to say 'you don't want to remember your child like this' at the time."

"I really hope the family found peace and deleted those photos. I ran into them a few times after that (unrelated to EMS), and they seemed okay... but holy hell. I understand that seeing the body of a dead loved one often brings closure after a traumatic event like that... but don't immortalize that image as the last picture of that person."

"From experience, those images are haunting. I have the last image of a friend of mine that died in a freak explosion (I did the crime scene photos), and I often have to look at good photos of him to put the bad ones to rest."

"They're not images you want to see when you think of someone fondly."

- ckjm

Comics And Nutella

"I worked 2 years as a casket bearer when I was a student because it paid very well."

"One time the undertaker came to us, telling that he's sorry for the extra weight, but the guy who died really wanted some comics books and a 5 kg jar of Nutella with him."

"For Germany, that's some next level extravaganza."

- bremishpotato

Practice Makes Perfect

"My parents owned a small business next door to a funeral home so we knew the guys who worked there pretty well."

"When my grandma was diagnosed as terminal she wanted to plan her own funeral so one of them came round to our house to make the arrangements with her. He was a really young guy barely out of school, the son of the main funeral director, and was still an apprentice who had never done a funeral by himself."

"When he asked my grandma whether she wanted his dad or his uncle to do the funeral, she told him she wanted him to do it."

"He started to refuse saying he didn’t have the experience yet, he might not do it well, he wasn’t at that point in his training yet and he was just here doing the admin etc."

"She insisted on him doing it because 'you need the experience eventually, might as well do your first one for someone who doesn’t care if you mess it up.' He did it, and he was great."

"Myself and my siblings and cousins were all a similar age to the guy at the time and doing our first jobs/apprenticeships etc and she’d seen us struggling with wanting more experience in our fields but not always getting the opportunities to do so; so that’s why she insisted."

"He did my granddads funeral two years later too."

- InterestingCloud9

The Tattoo

"My fiance works in a funeral home so I'm stealing his story. They had someone call and ask if they could remove a decedent's tattoo so he could have it preserved which is apparently a real service that one place offers."

"The director who took the phone call went to the manager with it and they were hemming and hawing because none of them wanted to do it. I guess it's something that is probably fine for them to do legally but is also borderline abuse of a corpse if someone in law enforcement wanted to be a dick about it, and also they all found it kind of personally repulsive."

"Finally the manager goes, 'Wait, which guy? Isn't that the guy they pulled out of the river? The one who was in there a while?' "

" '...well, I guess that's one time skin slippage would be a good thing.' (Do not google skin slippage if you are squeamish.) "

"Anyway, because of all the water damage the body was 'not viewable' and the tattoo was definitely not in any condition to be removed and preserved so they were able to tell the requester no for that reason rather than, 'It's weird and we don't wanna do it.' "

- scarrlet

Balloon Giveaway

"Not a funeral home employee or owner, just the daughter of a person who didn't want their funeral to be a sad affair."

"My mom passed quickly from cancer in 2019 but she had her entire funeral planned out and paid for. Turns out she told the funeral home she wanted 100 balloons surrounding her coffin and for the balloons to be given out to those who came to mourn with us."

"She wanted to bring a happy moment in the midst of sadness."

- smartnclumsy

Legalities

"My friend is a funeral worker and was directing a funeral for this woman. Her daughter arranged the funeral, paid for everything, did everything funeral related and paid for a full service to get her mother buried."

"There was a small issue right before the funeral and one of the workers at the mortuary needed to contact the daughter but she didn't pick up at the time and so they contacted her father who was listed as a contact."

"What the mortuary workers were unaware of was that the deceased woman and this man had been separated for decades but no one in the family, including the deceased woman, knew that they were still legally married. That legally makes him the next of kin that is responsible for arranging the funeral."

"He was upset that no one had told him and he ordered the mortuary not to bury her body or have the open casket (which was already paid for and her body already prepared). Everyone was already at the funeral (including the woman's own parents) when all of a sudden this man who hadn't been in any of their lives for decades cancelled everything."

"He demanded that her body be cremated. His own daughter was begging and crying for him not to do this, but legally, he had all the power to do this."

"The mortuary did everything they could but in the end, he had the legal power to do everything he did. The woman ended up getting cremated and the man gained possession of her ashes and went back into obscurity."

"My friend said that the mortuary worker who called the father felt so SO guilty, but she did what she was trained to do and somehow the daughter didn't hold it against the mortuary for goofing up like this."

"My friend says the biggest takeaway from this is to always name your power of attorney long before you even expect to die, especially after a big life event or when separating from your spouse or a household you no longer want to be part of."

"Last I heard, the man lost legal powers over the deceased woman after that. But what happened already happened and there was nothing else that could be done after that."

"The daughter and woman's family ended up just having to eat the cost of the funeral service that never happened. Truly traumatic."

- Kuneria

Memories On Loop

"Not really a strange request but definitely one that has stayed with me."

"I once helped conduct a service for a gentlemen who passed away of old age, he and his daughter were very close. I guess he had dementia before he had passed, and his daughter was taking care of him full time at home giving him hospice care."

"He apparently loved the song Memories by Adam Levine, as it came out before his diagnosis. His daughter made it a tradition to play it to him every night, because it was something he enjoyed listening to even if he didn't remember why."

"So she asked us to play this song on loop for the entire graveside service. Now that's all I remember when I hear that song."

- musicko1


However old you are, now is the time to start planning the big sendoff. Look no further for some ideas to start off the brainstorm session.

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