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'WIBTA if I play the song that my mom chose for her funeral, knowing it might offend some attendees?'

'WIBTA if I play the song that my mom chose for her funeral, knowing it might offend some attendees?'


"WIBTA if I play the song that my mom chose for her funeral, knowing it might offend some attendees?"


My mom recently passed away, and our family (primarily me) are making the arrangements for the upcoming funeral. My mom always had a really excellent sense of humor, and before she passed she told not only me but all of the palliative care staff at the hospital that the song she wanted played at her funeral was “Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead” from The Wizard of Oz.

I managed to at least talk her out of the soundtrack version sung by the Munchkins and got her to agree to the classier jazz version by Ella Fitzgerald. Now, I agree with my mom that this would be a really funny thing to play at a funeral and would showcase her sense of humor to a tee.

However, I’m also VERY aware that not everyone that’s going to come to the funeral is going to take the joke in the same spirit, and I think that some of the more religious friends and family members might be extra upset because there’s a certain repeated line that implies she’s going to hell.

Plus, we’re explicitly having a non-religious service and one of said family members has already expressed disappointment with that. So on the one hand I think it’s my mom’s funeral and I should respect her wishes above anyone else’s opinions.

But on the other hand I realize that funerals are for the living, and it’s pretty disrespectful to do something that’s going to upset those actually in attendance when obviously my mom isn’t going to know one way or the other.

WIBTA if I still play the song my mom picked? (If it matters my alternate choice would be Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, which was her favorite song and what we all listened to in the hospital together after she passed.)

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


NTA. And you introduce the song with something like "Now, you all know my mom had a quirky sense of humor, and this was the one song she requested. If you're offended, well, you'll have to take that up with her."


I have nothing to add because this is the perfect answer!


Why not put it in the program? There's usually a little folded paper thing with info in it for mourners. You could also have the person who is leading the funeral to say something like "and at the request of [Mom's Name], here's a song she chose to say goodbye with" I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope you find a way to honor your mom and the haters can stuff it.

The OP responded here:


That's a really good idea! I haven't started drafting the program yet so I didn't think of that, but it would at least make it explicit that it's what my mom requested and not just me trying to be funny or whatever. Thanks.


I am sorry for your loss. NTA but maybe give a preamble about honoring her sense of humor and the joy she found in life. If you only play the song without an explanation people will think you are a dick (who is happy the witch is dead…)

Almost three months later, the OP returned with their update.

"UPDATE: WIBTA if I play the song that my mom chose for her funeral, knowing it might offend some attendees?"


Hi, everyone! I figured I'd come back and give you all an update on how things turned out with my mom's memorial service (original post here). I'm really grateful for everyone who convinced me that playing the song she chose was the right option.

So yes, I decided to go ahead and play the Ella Fitzgerald version of "Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead" after incorporating the story behind it into my eulogy, which a few people suggested as the best way to bridge the gap between a serious occasion and a silly song. We poured a toast for everyone first and I told them we would raise a glass during the song, and then introduced it like this:

"I'm sure you all know my mother had a wicked sense of humor. And if you know where I'm going with this, you know why I said it that way. For as long as I can remember, she told me and everybody else that she wanted a certain song played at her funeral. Because she wanted everyone to laugh, not cry.

And because she knew she wouldn't have to deal with it if anybody didn't get the joke. But I think you'll all get it. And despite the circumstances, I hope this will be another happy memory that we all associate with my mom."

And then I played the song, and people immediately started smiling and chuckling when they caught on to what it was. The couple of people I worried about not finding it funny seemed to take it well enough.

They weren't giggling like everyone else but I think they were accepting of the song being what my mom wanted. And afterwards a few people told me that the song was perfect and that they could totally see my mom requesting that. All in all, it was a very nice Celebration of Life and I'm happy with the way things turned out.

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


My mother has also requested the same song be played at her funeral!


I am so glad your Mum turned a Sad occasion in to a celebration of life. Great song choice by your Mum.


NTA my mother in law wanted P!nk Let's get this Party Started as the curtains closed on the coffin, honestly couldn't see anyone that wasn't smiling.


OP approached this perfectly. Give the context through the eulogy and leave everyone off with a smile. There isn't one way to mourn but I think this one was beautiful, hilarious, and meaningful.


I love it. A friend of mine passed years ago and for some reason he loved the song call me maybe. We were at his funeral, open casket, all just devastated. Just did the walk by thing to pay respects and the actual service had yet to start.

So 3 minutes of just quiet sadness. Then someone starts blasting call me maybe from their phone. It was awesome. Absolutely perfect. My friend would have been so happy. It's actually a really fond memory of mine.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

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