The graveside joke that had everyone laughing at a funeral

By Kris Bramwell
BBC News

media captionShay Bradley's wish was to have a message played at his funeral from beyond the grave.

A dad's message from beyond the grave has touched the hearts of thousands online.

Shay Bradley, 62, had a dying wish that had his family and friends laughing at his funeral in Dublin.

In a video that has received more than 136,000 upvotes on Reddit, the former Irish defence forces veteran pretends to be trapped inside his coffin and is heard knocking frantically, trying to get out.

Coming from a speaker on the ground his voice boomed from his grave: "Hello, hello, hello... let me out!" There is then some swearing which sends the mourners into fits of laughter.

He goes on to sing: "Hello again, hello. I called to say goodbye."

Shay, who had suffered a long illness, organised the stunt around a year ago over lunch and recorded the message on a phone with the help of son Jonathan. Shay was banging on a coffee table beside him for the full effect.

image copyright@Andrea36496119
image captionShay came up with the idea for the pre-recorded message a year ago.

Jonathan told the BBC that his dad was "a larger than life character who always wanted to make people laugh".

He said: "He wanted something special and for everyone to remember him as he was, so that everyone, especially my mother, did not leave the graveside sombre. "

The 41 year-old said he was surprised by the reaction the video has had online.

"I didn't realise it was being recorded at the time. It was supposed to be a moment for us as a family. It was only when I woke up this morning that I realised it had had such an impact."

Posting on Twitter with the hashtag #Shayslastlaugh, Shay's daughter, Andrea, said: "What a man. To make us all laugh when we were incredibly sad. He was some man for one man. Love you forever Poppabear."

And speaking to those who wanted to send their condolences, she added: "My dad wanted us to leave the cemetery laughing, and to celebrate his life... He would love to know how many people he made laugh! He was an amazing character."

The video has led many online to pay tribute to Shay but also share their own experiences of when they were able to see the funny side of grief.

On Reddit jessflyc told the story of when her dad died, just before last Christmas.

She said: "We were waiting for the coroners to come pick him up and when they rang the doorbell it started playing a very cheery version of Jingle Bells. My family cracked up. It was just so odd. The coroners must have thought we were crazy when we opened the door giggling."

The Canadian Comrade also shared their story of the time their dad's ashes were delivered home by a crematorium office assistant.

"He showed up with a box and my aunt ran outside. 'Is this another gift? Who's the package from? It must be something good,' she said.

"The poor assistant was just shocked and my mom and I are laughing so hard we are almost literally on the ground. We still laugh about it and make fun of my aunt for that one."

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The Irish Defence Forces Veterans Association has also sent their "sincerest condolences and prayers" to Shay's family.

It is with great sadness that I was informed of the passing of our Military Brother and Veteran Colleague Shay Bradley...

Posted by Irish Defence Forces Veterans News on Tuesday, October 8, 2019
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