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Funeral snafus

 
 
Noddy24
 
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 12:53 pm
Funerals should be sad and ceremonial occasions. Unfortunate, grief creates stress and stressed people can be blatently self-centered and outspoken--thereby spreading stress.

Have you survived any horrid funerals? Were you ever tempted to shove a family member in the grave (before the casket was lowered)?

I remember during the Back to the House aftermath, a happy ten year old with Down's Syndrome looked around the room filled with family and close friends and announced at the top of his lungs, "Funerals are a lot of fun!"

Do you have any stories?
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jespah
 
  2  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 04:56 pm
There is an entire body (ha, pun only semi-intended) of case law devoted to wrongful cremations.

I helped handle one such case when I was still practicing. It involved a mixup in the morgue and no one would have noticed except that it was an open casket funeral.

Ah, hijinks at the Coroner's office.
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littlek
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 05:00 pm
Noddy, you must not be Irish.....? We have had a lot of funerals in the last ten years and the Irish ones are always a little less somber. When my grandmother died (Italian side) her offspring couldn't agree on much - it got worse when they tried to decide what to do with my grandfather. There were emergency family meetings amongst my mothers siblings.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 05:25 pm
little k--

Not Irish? My great, great grandmother was Maggie Murphy who came over from the Auld Sod as an indentured servant and who never did learn to read and write.

Generally back at the house everyone is civil--it's before the ceremony and when the house is being cleared out that the ructions emerge.

I had a cousin who died unexpectedly. Since her children were in their very early 20's (but quite savvy) and her husband wasn't a practical sort of man, my mother went along to the funeral home to help make arrangements.
This was about 25 years ago and left to themselves the grieving family would have spent thousands of dollars (and my deceased cousin would have been outraged at the unseemly expense).

The planning started with the casket and then the lining of the casket and the handles of the casket and moved on to the flowers and goodness knows what all. Finally the salesman said smarmily, "We recommend the weatherproof, watertight vault." The widower started to agree but his daughter exploded. "FAther. You know Mother could swim!"
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littlek
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 05:29 pm
Well, so you are Irish.

Isn't the funeral more for those left living, rather than for the deceased? I mean, besides the mass, if there is one. Why not let the family blow a wad on the funeral if that's what they wanted?
Noddy24
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 05:42 pm
My cousin was a woman with a sincere dread of ostentation and that was the way she raised her kids. Her husband (married-in-family) was a bit of a philanderer and ostentation was his way of easing his guilty conscience.
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littlek
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 06:06 pm
aaaahhh....
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Piffka
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 06:25 pm
Some funny stories here.

I was at the funeral for a coach who had died unexpectedly. He had two children and between the friends of his children and all the children & teens he had coached, there were a lot of young people there. They were encouraged to sit in the front... many wore their soccer uniforms. At the funeral the officiating minister spoke a few words and then looking at each of these young peope in turn, he said "You think you're not, but you're all going to hell... unless you take the Lord as your Savior now."

It was all downhill <grin> from there.
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littlek
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 06:34 pm
holy cow, what a way with words that man has.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 07:21 pm
I'm not of the 'funerals should be sad' group of believers.

Funerals are for the living - and at worst, should be a reflection of the joys of someone's time on this planet.

I've been to some really wonderful celebrations of life / memorial services. I have a lot of funny, odd little memories of hamburger's brother's memorial service.

My uncle (hamburger's older brother) was very active in the union movement in my hometown. The unions were well-represented at the memorial. A union rep was one of the speakers. There was a great deal of puzzlement and whispering when hamburger got up to speak and began with, "My brother ... ". From behind, and beside, me I could hear "What union local is he with?"

There was of course lots of mingling and mixing - I spent some time speaking with childhood friends who I hadn't seen in 20+ years. On preparing to leave, A. came to me, gave me a hug and said, with a big bright smile, "We need to get together like this more often." Shocked

My uncle's widow hosted a rather pleasant dinner a bit later on. It was at a nice local restaurant, the beverages flowed freely, the jokes and laughter were plentiful. It was truly my uncle's kind of evening, and that evening is part of the wonderful memories I have of him. It seemed as if we were having a party on his tab, and he was there with us, having a good time again.
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Eva
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 08:13 pm
This isn't exactly a "snafu," but it is a great story. And absolutely true.

My mother died in 1997. She had suffered from severe scoliosis (curvature of the spine) which caused her extreme pain for years. She was short-bodied to begin with, and only 5' tall, so as the "S" curve of the spine compressed with age, her ribcage ultimately sat on her pelvis. You can imagine how much that hurt. Nevertheless, she kept going. Some days she wasn't up to leaving the house, but she always managed to make it to her volunteer job on Fridays working in a hospital gift shop.

Of all the things that she hated, pantyhose topped the list. Putting them on was hell for her with her twisted back. She used to say that no matter how large you bought them, all pantyhose were made with the same size waistband....extra petite. She swore that one day they would kill her, but she wouldn't give up wearing them. She said she just wouldn't feel properly dressed without them.

Well, one Friday morning as she was getting ready for her volunteer job, she sat on the edge of her bed and had a massive coronary. Fell backwards onto her thick, soft comforter and was just...gone. The physicians said she probably never even knew what was happening. Thank you, God. As a world-class worrier, she had fretted for years over what would happen when she could no longer walk. Now she wouldn't have to worry any more.

It was hard for us to lose her so suddenly. There is no easy way to lose one's mother, I suppose. We were in shock. My favorite aunt, my mother's sister-in-law, flew in from California the next day. She and my mother had been close. I met her in the hallway of the funeral home, just outside the door to my mother's viewing room. Sarah had gotten the message that Mom died, but no details. She asked me how it had happened.

All of a sudden, I began laughing hysterically. "She was right," I told Sarah. "The pantyhose finally got her!"

Sarah's eyes bugged out, then she began laughing, too. Everyone stared at us, but we couldn't help ourselves. We went in to see Mom together, and laughed ourselves silly right in front of the open casket. I'm sure the rest of the family thought we were just horrible, but dammit, it WAS funny!

Mom was always funniest when she was trying to be serious.
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Montana
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 08:25 pm
LOL funny stories, I wish I could add to them, but in Aug of 86 I was so devistated by my fathers funeral that I haven't been to a funeral since.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 08:32 pm
I remember a family ceremony to scatter the ashes. The grieving widower tossed them into the wind--and they flew back into his face.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 08:34 pm
ehBeth wrote:
I'm not of the 'funerals should be sad' group of believers.

Funerals are for the living - and at worst, should be a reflection of the joys of someone's time on this planet.

I've been to some really wonderful celebrations of life / memorial services. I have a lot of funny, odd little memories of hamburger's brother's memorial service.

My uncle (hamburger's older brother) was very active in the union movement in my hometown. The unions were well-represented at the memorial. A union rep was one of the speakers. There was a great deal of puzzlement and whispering when hamburger got up to speak and began with, "My brother ... ". From behind, and beside, me I could hear "What union local is he with?"

There was of course lots of mingling and mixing - I spent some time speaking with childhood friends who I hadn't seen in 20+ years. On preparing to leave, A. came to me, gave me a hug and said, with a big bright smile, "We need to get together like this more often." Shocked

My uncle's widow hosted a rather pleasant dinner a bit later on. It was at a nice local restaurant, the beverages flowed freely, the jokes and laughter were plentiful. It was truly my uncle's kind of evening, and that evening is part of the wonderful memories I have of him. It seemed as if we were having a party on his tab, and he was there with us, having a good time again.


That's funny, Beth. All those union guys refer to each other as "brothers" on ceremonial occasions. Very Happy

The "A" person sounds like he/she was a bit addled. Sometimes people just don't know what to say. Hint -- not that!
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dlowan
 
  1  
Fri 29 Oct, 2004 10:44 pm
The "brother" and "pantyhose" stories are gems!
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Piffka
 
  1  
Sat 30 Oct, 2004 10:07 am
Oh, I missed the pantyhose story!

I'm sorry about your mom, Eva, but...Heeheeeehee.
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Eva
 
  1  
Sat 30 Oct, 2004 10:19 am
Yes, it WAS funny. (Sorry, Mom.) When they found her, she was only partially dressed. She had just put her pantyhose on.

Let this be a lesson to us all.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Sat 30 Oct, 2004 10:34 am
NO MORE PANTYHOSE!!!!! Nasty stuff.

My mother-in-law and I were close and I was with her when she died. Sad to say, we were shopping. Yep.

We shopped 'til she dropped. It was a sad day, but afterwards I was able to see that she died doing something she truly enjoyed. No wonder I now have a horror of shopping!

This is a good time to remember those who are now, as they say, "late." The Mexicans do it well, by asking their family members who have gone before to rejoin the family for a day of feasting. Nice, if you can, to at least visit their home cemetery to drop a few chrysanthemums and leave a little sugared cookie for the dearly departed.
squinney
 
  1  
Sat 30 Oct, 2004 10:44 am
When my Uncle Mike died in the 70's, my cousin and I were talking in her bedroom, with me trying to comfort her the best I could. Uncle Mike had died of cancer of the lymph nodes, so they had about 3 months to prepare and knew it was coming. Still, the family was distraught to say the least.

Uncle Mike was a lively soul. His spirit was vibrant and his outlook had always been full of humor.

As we sat on the edge of my cousins bed, I asked her if there was something she wanted to do. Suddenly, she got a smile on her face. She wiped away her tears and proclaimed that we were going to go "streaking."

Baffled, and wondering how appropriate that was, she assured me it was exactly what her Dad would have wanted. Afterall, when she had threatened to streak at her homecoming game the previous Fall, before he had become ill, he had told her "You'll streak over my dead body!"

My one and only time to Streak! We rationalized that Uncle Mike would have found great humor in our antics and certainly would have approved. Adults present thought otherwise...
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Piffka
 
  1  
Sat 30 Oct, 2004 10:50 am
squinney wrote:
"You'll streak over my dead body!"


Laughing
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