Monday, May 10, 2010

A weekend of sadness - funeral

The weekend is over...finally. I rarely hope for a short weekend.

Funerals + Me = Anxiety

We buried my aunt this past weekend. Viewing was friday night and the funeral service was on Saturday.

Funerals sure have changed...unfortunately I have attended my fair share of them. The first funeral I ever attended was for a friend in high school. He had been drinking under a bridge by the river and fell in and drowned. I will NEVER forget it. It was the MOST sadness I have ever seen in one room. He was only 16. It made me think, does the level of sadness heighten when it's a younger person? My aunt was 75, I heard alot of "she had a good long life" ....there was alot of sniffling but no sobbing and screaming like at my young friends burial.

Is there an age limit on when it becomes "ok" to die? Do we rationalize and accept death more at an older age?

I also noticed that funeral homes have embraced our age of technology...a nice slideshow was put together celebrating my aunts behalf, perfectly timed to suitable music (Frank Sinatra....her favorite!). There must be a team of elves working feverishly behind the scenes as there were 4 viewings and 2 funeral services happening at once! Either the funeral home director profession is a dying breed or we are dying in larger quantities then 20 yrs ago!

What I can say about this added technological service was that it really gave a sense of who my aunt was. Painting, playing piano, pics with her kids, laughing with friends, grandkids, and of course snuggle pics of her and my uncle brought smiles in a time of sadness.

I looked around the packed chapel and whispered to Tim. "I want people to come visit me, hug me and tell me they love me while I am ALIVE. I want a slideshow of my life that I can watch." It may not have been the place to start talking death with my hubby, but I need him to know these things.

Do you talk death with your spouse/significant other or family?

My dad did a eulogy. He read a poem that hit home for many I'm sure. If you have a chance to read it please do. It's called The Dash.


  1. What a difficult time for your fam -- I am so sorry! It's interesting you bring up how they have changed .... my friend went to a funeral and they had an open bar as in hopes of a celebration. Interesting right?!

  2. Oh that poem really hits home.
    I agree with you on wanting all of that when you are still alive. I notice that people make Herculean efforts to get to someone's funeral but not so much to visit before they die. I am trying really hard not to make that mistake.

    Great post, you have got me thinking!

  3. In our Italian famliy most people visit wedding,birth,sick and death. My husbands realative had 3 girls 18 and pregnant,15 and 8. Their mom died in May from a long hard battle with breat cancer. Their dad died in november from a quick fast takeover from stomach cancer. She was 9 months pregnant. At her dads furneral she got up and spoke and she told all those italians to visit and love their friends when they are well and alive. Not to wait until deaths door. Well, it was moving,heartbreaking and beautiful. And you know what those older realatives were pissed off and offended that she said that! So, I try to remember that now when I dont want to take the long drive because I am too tired to go see my own Nonna( gramma). Because at least I have one living granparent to visit. That beautiful baby girl has none.

  4. I also had loss early, as my cousin drowned at 26...and he was swimming with his brother, and they were both lifeguards. Unthinkable. Stays with you.

    I live my life with my heart on my sleeve. I send thank you cards, I encourage, I am a huge hugger, and I tell people I love them and appreciate them each day.

    When I die, I don't want anyone to not know what they meant to me.

    I think it is a life lived with no regret if the people who mean the most to you know they were loved.

    I think the age thing is debatable. Many feel an older person has at least lived fully. But I also find that the longer they live the more you count on their presence and miss them when they are gone. One loss is a sudden-what could have been, and they other is a deep deep missing them in our lives.

    Both hurt.

    Sending you hugs Cheryl
    Love you!

  5. I have been to a young person's funeral. It was extremely sad, and I didn't even know him! However, I found my grandpa's funeral to be sad too, but not in the same way.

    Yes, I agree, we should celebrate our lives when we are alive too!

  6. I have attended my own newborn's funeral. Just writing that sentence creates a stirring of panic in my body. Death is raw. Death is hard. There are moments when death seems a sweet release because the deceased has "lived" their life, and then there are funerals that seem so insanely wrong and against nature - - particularly death when life should be starting. Those are the ones that haunt me. I am sorry for your loss.

  7. PS: We also speak about death often, as death is now apart of our life in a way we cannot explain escape since our boy/brother/son died.

  8. So sorry for your loss Cheryl. I promise I'll come and visit you and hug you sometime real soon! Love you! Kathy