It Would Have Been His Favorite Part of His Funeral

At one point during my brother’s funeral they opened it up for anyone to come up and share a memory of Derek. A couple people shared sweet moments they’d had with him as a child or funny stories about him as a punk teenager. Then my aunt walked up to the stage and said she wanted to sing.

No band. No backing track. Nothing. We all braced ourselves.

She began belting out some song from the bottom of her heart, at times nearly yodeling as her shaky voice cracked. She paused briefly to encourage us to sing along with her. No one knew the lyrics, or even the song, for that matter. There was just silence from the congregation.

After she finished, I looked over at my dad (her brother). He was furious.

My Favorite Part of the Funeral

A few days later, he told me how upset he was. I told him that it was my very favorite part of the funeral and probably would’ve been Derek’s too. He was super-confused. I explained that one of the hardest parts of losing my only sibling was all of the inside jokes that just suddenly disappeared. Poof. Gone in an instant.

And because both Derek and I are total jerks, one of those jokes was my aunt’s singing.

I remember us sitting in the backseat of the car one time and she starts belting out a song at the top of her lungs. I’ll never forget that moment or that song. It was “Zombie” by the Cranberries. She annihilated it. Seriously, a crime-against-humanity level of wrong was taking place in the front seat.

Derek and I were dying. It was that type of situation where you know you can’t even look at the other person because as soon as you do . . . as soon as you see as much as a smirk on their face you WILL. LOSE. IT.

And that’s exactly what happened. We were twisting and toiling in silent laughter in the backseat trying so hard not to let her see us, but the song was just soooo long, and she was soooo into it.

Still, you had to be there. When I’d tell someone else about it, they’d politely chuckle, but they didn’t really get it. And now they would.

Anytime I hear the Cranberries I immediately think of this gloriously hilarious moment with my brother. Yes, it would have been his favorite part of the funeral.


Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa is the founder of New Wave Feminists, a feminist pro-life group that aims to reshape the divisive language surrounding the abortion debate. Inspired by her own experience as a young mother, she founded the group to provide women with enough support to make motherhood a viable option. A writer, she lives in Dallas, Texas.

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