Siblings Interrupt Vacation And Drive Eight Hours To Get To Funeral; Accused Of Not Doing Enough

, , , | Related | November 12, 2018

(Several years ago my grandfather died after a short illness. My grandmother arranged the funeral for the Wednesday in the middle of week-long school holiday. This was unfortunate because my brother had arranged his first whole family holiday with just him, his wife and young children for that week and I had a holiday with a group of international friends who were coming from five different countries and who I had agreed to drive. This was also annoying because our corner of the family was the only one affected by school holidays. But it happened. So my brother and I worked out how to get to the funeral. This involved me getting to where he was staying with his family at midnight before the funeral and then leaving the following morning about five am to drive six hours to get to the funeral. He had a six-hour drive back, and I had another two hours on top of that to get back to where my friends are staying. We go to leave the wake at about two pm, only for one of our aunts to corner us.)

Aunt: “Oh, going already?”

Me: “Yeah, we have a long drive back.”

Aunt: “It’s such an important day; surely you can stay a bit longer.”

Me: “We are very tired; we set off at five to get here and it is going to be ten pm when I get back tonight.”

Aunt: “It’s not that far from [Home Town].”

Me: “No, we have driven from [Brother’s Holiday Location] this morning, and I need to get back to [My Holiday Location] this evening.”

Aunt: “Oh, your mum mentioned you had holidays booked, but no one honestly thought you would go. We thought you would just cancel and rearrange.”

Brother: “It’s my family’s first holiday. The kids are too young to come to the funeral, so why shouldn’t we go?”

Me: “And my trip was planned with five friends from different countries, I had agreed to drive everybody, and it’s in a really remote location. There is no way to rearrange it. I either went or missed out, and that seemed a bit unnecessary for one day.”

Aunt: “Well, isn’t that what travel insurance is for? You should have cancelled, claimed on your insurance, and rearranged.”

Me: “Travel insurance wouldn’t have… Never mind. I don’t have the energy. Anyway, we have a long drive, so we’re going.”

Aunt: “It’s just not right that you are leaving so early. It’s an important day for the family.”

Me: “And we worked hard to be here. Now we are going.”

Aunt: “I still think you should stay.”

Me: “Bye, [Aunt].”

Putting The “Fun” Into “Funeral”

, , , , , , , | Related | October 23, 2018

I’ve been told my step-great-grandmother was always… an interesting woman. Since I was young, I didn’t know her extremely well, other than that she decorated every room of her house with a theme — bunnies, cats, red-white-and-blue, old-timey western store, etc. — and that she was insanely proud of her atrocious crabcakes that would make any Marylander weep.

When she died when I was in middle school, I had no idea what was waiting. My family packed up and drove three hours south for her funeral service, not knowing what she had planned. I was raised religious, but she wasn’t the same religion, so it was the first funeral I’d ever been to that would deviate from what I had learned as the usual.

Apparently her plans started with a bluegrass gospel band playing for about an hour, followed by stories from loved ones we never knew well. Hearing about anyone at a funeral is usually tear-jerking for me, even if I never really knew them, so I wasn’t handling the service great and just wanted to leave. Eventually it was wrapped up by an old friend of hers. He was a blind, one-armed man who played the harmonica and sang Battle Hymn of the Republic. I know it’s a bit insensitive and I’m not really proud of it today, but the blind man singing, “I have seen the glory,” was more than I could take and I snickered a bit. This set off my cousins just flat-out laughing, which earned them some less-than-enthused looks while they tried to disguise it as crying.

When I talked to other family members afterward, they found it odd, too, but pretty much all of them said, “Well… that’s Mary for you.” Everyone agreed that the entire thing, including the kids laughing, was exactly what she would have wanted.

Undeath At A Funeral

, , , , , | Friendly | August 30, 2018

(My grandfather is the youngest of seven siblings. He and his oldest brother look very much alike and even have nearly the same voice, but they are fifteen years apart in age. However, as they grew older, the differences in their appearances became smaller and smaller. Fast forward 70 years: the oldest brother dies and my grandfather attends his funeral. A lady he has never seen before enters the church and spots him in the front bench with the other siblings. She goes white as a sheet and marches right up to him.)

Lady: “What are you doing here?!”

Grandfather: *confused* “I’m attending the funeral?”

Lady: “No, what are you doing here? You’re supposed to be in there!” *points at the coffin* “You’re supposed to be dead!

Grandfather: “Ah, no, you see, I’m–”

Lady: “LEAVE, DEMON! OH, LORD, HELP US! THIS IS THE END!”

(And with that, she stormed out of the church, never to be seen again.)

Funerals Don’t Have To Be Funereal

, , , , , , , | Related | August 6, 2018

My great, great grandmother was quite a character all her life. When she passed away, the family gathered for the funeral, and milled around, sharing stories in subdued voices about memories of her.

Shortly before everyone began to file into the room, the funeral director came in. He was looking very frazzled, and wringing his hands. He apologized profusely, and said that the funeral couldn’t start yet; her body wasn’t there!

Apparently, the morgue sent her to the wrong funeral parlor, in an entirely different city! The hearse was on its way to pick her up, but… well… the funeral was going to be delayed.

There was a beat of silence, and then the entire family managed to start laughing.

My great, great grandma had always told the family that she was always late, and would likely be late to her own funeral. She was! About two hours late to be exact.

The story is now family legend, of how great, great grandma was late to her own funeral, and it was the one family funeral that was conducted with snickers and giggling.

I Said Pallbearer, Not Ball-Bearer

, , , , , | Related | July 27, 2018

(This is at the end of my grandmother’s funeral, just as we’re about to escort the coffin out. The immediate family gathers around to decide the pallbearers. Note that I’m six feet tall and fairly fit.)

Me: “I can be a pallbearer.”

Uncle: “No, women can’t be pallbearers.”

(The glare I sent him must have been pretty powerful, because he immediately guided me to which part he wanted me to carry.)

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