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.

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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.)

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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.

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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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Dying Of Laughter

, , , , , , , , | Hopeless | July 12, 2018

Last December, my great-grandma passed away after a long time in a nursing home in poor health. We knew that she would pass soon, but my family was still obviously very sad. My seven-year-old brother took it pretty hard, so my other two brothers and I tried to comfort him as best we could.

The time came for the funeral, which we had to explain a bit to my brother. It was a Catholic one, so it was held in a church and lasted a couple hours. I helped give the Eucharist, and my brothers and I helped carry the Gifts to the altar, all the while trying to convince my youngest brother that Great-Grandma wasn’t going to come back to life like you do in Minecraft. As you can imagine, we were pretty emotionally spent, and my mother and grandma were crying numerous times.

At the end of the funeral, four of the adult male family members came to help carry the coffin to the hearse. Mom was crying and holding Grandma, my aunt and uncle were holding back tears, and my cousins, siblings, and I watched quietly. Suddenly, my youngest brother walks towards the coffin and “helps” carry the coffin to the hearse, which wasn’t supposed to happen. My mother was shocked, but didn’t stop him in time before they were out the door.

Imagine being there, a ring of family members in solemn silence, suddenly laughing as their loved one is carried away! It was just so comical seeing my brother holding the coffin, right next to his very confused dad and uncle, that we couldn’t help it. That bit of comedy was just what we needed at such a sad moment in our life, and I firmly believe that God urged him to go so our great-grandma could go out with her family smiling for her and her descendants.

 

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