Late last year, one of the member in our clown club passed away due to heart complications. It was a very sad moment. All of us in the club planned on attending the memorial service. His family, though, had an interesting request: he wanted up all to dress up as clowns. Oh, and also have our van roll up to play fun music.
I can’t say we weren’t apprehensive. We were all apprehensive. You don’t just put on clown costume and act all goofy when your amidst people who are still hurting for loss. But his widow insisted she wanted a celebration of life. I rationalized that people like Jim Henson had memorial services that were unconventional but still respected the man. So a dozen of us put on our costumes and make-up and attended the memorial service.
Understandably, people looked at us strangely when we arrived. Who wouldn’t? But it turned out to be a crucial aspect of the funeral after all. The speakers shared how much or fellow clown had meant to the community — whether it was as a clown, as an announcer, as a Santa, as an events planner — and having a bunch of clowns show up emphasized how much of an impact he had left. The pastor had even mentioned, “I had heard about the clown thing… he’d clowned at our church … but I didn’t realized how BIG it was.”
In the end, we were welcome with open arms, and everyone remembered how our clown just loved everyone. I can’t say I’d do it again… but hey, my motto has always been, “Live your life like you want to write an interesting chapter in your autobiography.” I gotta say, going to a funeral as a clown is right up there.