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BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff

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Sorcha 19 Aug 06 - 02:41 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Aug 06 - 03:23 PM
Little Hawk 19 Aug 06 - 03:33 PM
Zany Mouse 19 Aug 06 - 03:59 PM
Sorcha 19 Aug 06 - 04:02 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 19 Aug 06 - 04:11 PM
Sorcha 19 Aug 06 - 04:13 PM
Sorcha 19 Aug 06 - 04:16 PM
Peace 19 Aug 06 - 04:22 PM
Sorcha 19 Aug 06 - 04:24 PM
LilyFestre 19 Aug 06 - 04:28 PM
Sorcha 19 Aug 06 - 04:30 PM
Joe Offer 19 Aug 06 - 04:55 PM
Little Hawk 19 Aug 06 - 05:38 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Aug 06 - 06:44 PM
Little Hawk 19 Aug 06 - 06:52 PM
SINSULL 19 Aug 06 - 06:57 PM
Micca 19 Aug 06 - 07:02 PM
snarky 19 Aug 06 - 07:09 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 19 Aug 06 - 07:16 PM
Ebbie 19 Aug 06 - 07:18 PM
jeffp 19 Aug 06 - 07:27 PM
Sorcha 19 Aug 06 - 08:07 PM
Azizi 19 Aug 06 - 08:26 PM
Sorcha 19 Aug 06 - 08:35 PM
open mike 19 Aug 06 - 08:56 PM
Sorcha 19 Aug 06 - 09:03 PM
mack/misophist 19 Aug 06 - 09:53 PM
Rapparee 19 Aug 06 - 10:14 PM
Shanghaiceltic 19 Aug 06 - 10:38 PM
Sorcha 19 Aug 06 - 10:47 PM
Janie 19 Aug 06 - 11:04 PM
Little Hawk 19 Aug 06 - 11:12 PM
GUEST,Jon 19 Aug 06 - 11:23 PM
Janie 19 Aug 06 - 11:35 PM
Joe Offer 20 Aug 06 - 03:13 AM
Rusty Dobro 20 Aug 06 - 03:23 AM
GUEST,Jon 20 Aug 06 - 07:31 AM
JennyO 20 Aug 06 - 07:45 AM
Zany Mouse 20 Aug 06 - 09:30 AM
fat B****rd 20 Aug 06 - 01:28 PM
Little Hawk 20 Aug 06 - 01:50 PM
Nigel Parsons 20 Aug 06 - 04:13 PM
Sorcha 20 Aug 06 - 04:30 PM
Little Hawk 20 Aug 06 - 05:27 PM
Folkiedave 20 Aug 06 - 06:51 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 20 Aug 06 - 07:35 PM
Janie 20 Aug 06 - 08:15 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 20 Aug 06 - 08:31 PM
Nigel Parsons 20 Aug 06 - 09:12 PM
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Subject: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 02:41 PM

I just got home from yet another interminable boring funeral service....even more so for me because I can't hear. Not one word. The 'singers' couldn't sing, NOBODY said a word about the deceased, we were asked NOT to speak to the family at all, or even after the graveside service.....so why did we go?

What do YOU think about during these things? And as this was a Mennonite service, I broke down and wore a skirt out of respect. The young woman behind me was showing major league cleavage, large bosoms. Rather bothered me.

WHY do people take infants and toddlers who have no clue what is going on to these things? Poor kids. They are boring enough for so called 'adults'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 03:23 PM

A co-worker died suddenly several years ago, and his wife set up a hasty funeral. The church wasn't one they normally attended, and the minister felt no compunction to try to make it a funeral to celebrate Jerry's life. He did a fire-and-brimstone sermon to a captive audience and several I spoke to later were quite offended that he should take advantage of them and the wife in that way.

Had I been there, I think I'd have been the rude one to stand abruptly in the middle of it and walk out.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 03:33 PM

I share your unenthusiastic feelings about (most) funerals. Why do people go to them? Well, I think they are often not exactly sure themselves what the answer is to that question.

Given that it's a social custom, they feel obliged to, I guess, but it's safe to say that most people do not in the least enjoy being at a funeral. To take small children along is simple weird, in my opinion.

What it often amounts to is: you pay a bunch of professional strangers a lot of money to put you and a whole bunch of other people through a totally creepy, depressing, and bizarre experience.

When my father passed away recently, my mother and I decided to have no funeral whatsoever, because we saw no good reason to. I haven't heard anyone complain about it so far.

I have, however, seen the odd funeral which was handled in a really good way and which certainly had its good points as a gathering for the bereaved and a send-off for the departed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Zany Mouse
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 03:59 PM

Many people feel it is necessary to mark the passing with some sort of ceremony - they need it to achieve acceptance and closure.

As to horrid funerals - well they can be avoided to a certain extent. If you are not a church goer, then why bother with a church ceremony? You are not a known and loved member of the church family and the minister will have nothing constructive to say about the departed because he doesn't know him. The fire and brimstone action was totally out of order though.

Mick and I have decided on woodland funerals carried out by The Humane Society. I've been to two funerals conducted by these good people now and the best way to describe them is 'RELEVANT'. The person conducting the ceremony (both at crematoriums) had taken the time and effort to get to know the deceased's relatives and the words used related prefectly to the deceased. As to the woodland bit - well it just made ecological sense.

Other funerals which have bordered on being tolerable have been the various folk funerals I've attended. Again highly meaningful. Rod Shearman's was a true celebration of his life. Sadly there have been too many of these in recent years.

Incidentally, I'm curous - if you don't have a funeral of any sort - what happens to the body?

Rhiannon


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 04:02 PM

Depends on local law.....you don't 'have' to have a service of any kind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 04:11 PM

Have to file a disclaimer here, Sorch. Yes, I've been to funerals that have been depressing, but they have been in the minority. Seems like I've been to the whole specturm of funerals, from somber, formal Catholic services to an outdoor Jewish memorial where the woman's request was that a black gospel group sing at her funeral. We were asked to sing, and had a pretty good time. I've sung with the Messengers where people got up and danced in the aisles, ad while I haven't been to an Irish Wake, they certainly aren't reknowned for their sobriety. My Father's funeral was very touching, with a chance for anyone in the family to stand up and talk about my Father. There was a lot of laughter, and touching stories shared, and it was a time for everyone to get together and not only celebrate the goodness in my Father, but the strength of our family. As families scatter across the country, families segue into family reunions. It's also can be a welcome breather for the immediate family members, relaxing with family members they haven't seen for a long time, eating and reminiscing.

I am trying to prepare myself for the death of my Mother, and I can guarantee you that we'll do everything to have a good time. My Mother would want that.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 04:13 PM

Exactly Jerry...this one wasn't 'depressing' at all....just boring. And if we go to show respect for the deceased and offer condolences to the family, why go at all if we are NOT allowed to speak to them????? Weird..


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 04:16 PM

Mine is going to set this county on it's ear......


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Peace
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 04:22 PM

I expect to leave a case of whiskey and a few doobies (although I have no idea how to procure doobies or even whether doobies are what I think they are, but folks who DO know doobies will know if they are the right things or not), some really loud rock music and a canoe with a supply of Sara Lee cakes (in case the doobies are what I think) instead of a funeral, because my corpse will go to a medical school and the canoe will be for the doobie folks and they will figure out something to do with it because the whiskey people will be too loaded to paddle it anywhere and besides there is no water within 50 miles anyway. I imagine the ashes will be flushed and because all roads lead to Rome I am gonna learn some Italian.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 04:24 PM

Sounds just fine, Peace!


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: LilyFestre
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 04:28 PM

What about going out of respect for the person you loved enough to even consider going to the funeral?

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 04:30 PM

That too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 04:55 PM

Back when I was a working person, I used to follow social obligation and go to funerals of people I hardly knew, and many of them felt just like Sorcha described. Oftentimes, it seemed nobody knew the deceased except for the people in the front pew, and they didn't have any connection to the rest of us. Now I mostly go to sing Catholic funerals in my own parish, and I know three-quarters of the people there. Funerals like that can be wonderful expressions of humanity, a lovely mixture of the bitter and the sweet.
In the last 25 years, I have belonged to two Catholic parishes, and both parishes have tried to overcome the lonely anonymity of many funerals. For many years, I've tried to "field a choir" for the funerals of everyone who is known in the congregation. It seemed silly to have singers in the congregation and have only a soloist singing. Other volunteers put on a luncheon (free of charge) for any family that wants to have one for guests after the funeral. Still other volunteers visit the sick and meet with bereaved families.
We still have many anonymous funerals, attended by only a few friends and strangers - but we're trying to improve that, and we'd had a lot of success.
I, for one, like to go to funerals - when I know the people involved, and especially if I can make a contribution by singing.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 05:38 PM

If you don't have a funeral of any sort, Zany Mouse, then you arrange to have the body either:

1. cremated...or...
2. buried in a local cemetary

Those arrangements are naturally made through a funeral home, but they do not require a public gathering with a service of some kind, which is what a funeral is.

You can also have what is termed a "reception" which is a public gathering at the funeral home at a certain time, but it's not a funeral service, as such.

You are required to do various legal paperwork, and the funeral home will assist with that, as well as with placing a death notice in the newspaper if you wish. They will provide copies of the Death Certificate which will need to be sent to various banks, credit card companies, and so on...whoever needs to be informed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 06:44 PM

There was a marvelous essay last year (Aigist 8, 2005) on "This I Believe," the essays they're running on NPR. She grew up in Brooklyn and discussed what she learned from her father, that you should go to a funeral, even though it may be inconvenient. "In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn't been good versus evil. It's hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing."

Always Go to the Funeral.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 06:52 PM

Yep. Good essay, all right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: SINSULL
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 06:57 PM

I will not have a funeral service of any sort when I die. I am to be cremated immediately and disposed of at sea or on the icy sidewalks after a bad snowstorm.

I know - funerals are for those left behind, a chance for them to say "Goodbye". Tough! Live with it!

I prefer you say "Hello" now while I can enjoy the gesture. Ample opportunity here in Maine.

I have been to too many funerals where the priest/rabbi had no clue who the deceased was, mispronounced names, got the children wrong. Give me a break.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Micca
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 07:02 PM

The Funeral song )
(Words Micca Patterson Tune "Banks of Newfoundland")

I've been to too many funerals over the last few years
Some solemn and some not so, but far too many tears
It started me off thinking of what happens when I go
So I thought I'd better get it down so everyone will know

No Church in gloom, No solemn tune, No po faced funeral poem
go to the pub and lift a glass And my friends can sing me home

No Church in gloom No solemn tune No friends on bended knee
Put on bright clothes and Morris bells and have a jolly spree
break out the old melodeon, and smack the loud Bodhran
and drink and sing the whole night long until the light of dawn

If you put me in a box to rot make it amongst the trees
But better still cremate me when I am at last at ease
And when I'm burned, scatter what's left, in places I have known
Then to the pub and lift a glass And my friends can sing me home

There is no easy way at all of taking leaves of friends
When down that long dark road we walk and vanish in the winds
When I move on to Tir na n'Og where the weather's always fair
the singing of my friends at Wake will surely reach me there

So Sing You Bastards sing and play loudly so I can hear
And pass the Talking stick around and drink the wine and beer
Tell stories , tales and sing my songs and Jokes both short and tall
Have fun and make the rafters ring or I'll come and haunt you all

No Church in gloom No solemn tune No Po faced Vicar there
But find a hedgewitch or High Priestess With long red flowing hair
And robed or skyclad to proclaim without a brush or comb
Then to the pub to drink some ale And My friends will sing me home

©Micca Patterson Feb/March 2004


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: snarky
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 07:09 PM

Could I have one of those doobies now, please....?


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 07:16 PM

This thread came at a very propitious time for me having just had my Mother in Law pass on.   My daughter, bless her, took care of everything. No big funeral (she was 94 and lots of familial issues to deal with. Graveside service and a luncheon (as Kate Campbell says in song---Funeral Food---we all have that) for people who never see each other and then won't again.

My daughter and I can, happily, discuss the future and she agrees with my thoughts---a cremation ( a decision I just reached) and then a while later a memorial concert with, hopefully, some of the wonderful people I have met through my (ongoing--I am not leaving the stage yet) stint at WFDU. I already have a plaque for my service to the community---and, as the saying goes--ashes to ashes, etc;

I have to say that the most meaningful and moving events I attended were only 2---both memorial commemorations---one with Jazz and the other just a get together to reminisce about someone we (the attendees) loved and appreciated.

Feel free to attend---hopefully it won't be for another 100 years. I don't really mean that. Quality of life is important and when that is gone I would like to say Goodbye as rapidly as possible----I just hate to miss that concert.   Though, my daughter (who has my sense of humor) says--hey, we could do this like a wedding rehearsal and have a memorial rehearsal---or shower. whatever.


BH


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 07:18 PM

Good 'un, Micca.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: jeffp
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 07:27 PM

As you know, I was faced with this issue recently. Fortunately, I had had time to discuss things with Bonnie and I knew what she wanted. She wanted to be cremated and an informal memorial gathering held where people would share memories and tell stories of her life. The cremation was arranged through a local service which offered direct cremation, where they come and pick up the remains from the place of death, arrange for the death certificates and all paperwork, and deliver the remains back to you. They will also sell you urns and such, but I got no sales pitch for that at all. They were very professional and very helpful.

We chose a wooden urn made by Trappist Monks at a monastery in Iowa. Bonnie approved the choice before she died. Some of her ashes will be scattered at significant places and I'm not yet sure what I will do with the rest, so I'll just hang on to her for a while.

By contrast, I played at a funeral for a friend who died 3 days after Bonnie. This was a Baptist funeral and had a totally different feel to it. Personally, I prefer the way we did it.

Jeff


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 08:07 PM

Perfect Micca.....my sentiments exactly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Azizi
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 08:26 PM

I dislike going to funerals. Not because they are boring, but because I consider them to be too emotional. I personally don't like public displays of grieve.

In the last three years, I've gone to six funerals. Three of these funerals were located in my hometown, and three were in the city where I lived for a long time. All of these were African American funeral services.

One of these services was very Afro-centric. The middle-aged woman who 'passed on' was the director of a very well regarded African/modern dance company. Every Christmas/Kwanzaa season that company puts on Langston Hughes' classic play "Black Nativity". Prior to the beginning of the formal service for this woman, members of her dance company, and other dancers spontaneously blocked the street-without permit-and danced to the beats of a large number of djembe drummers. The members of her company and other dancers also danced at her grave site prior to her internment. Portions of the Black Nativity play as well as other dance tributes were also interwoven into the formal service for this woman prior to folks driving to the cemetary. But though the dancers and dramatic 'readings' enriched the service, what was by far the most moving part of this funeral service was when one of her son's shared his memories of his mother.

Having at least one family member stand up in front of the congregation and speak about their loved one seems to be an essential part of each African American funeral I have ever attended. Usually, opportunities are provided for other persons in attendance to briefly share their memories of the person who has "gone on to glory". Another standard part of the Black funeral services I have attended is when a close friend or extended family member{usually not a member of the immediate family} reads resolutions {from churches, religious & social organizations}, and condolence telegrans and representative cards, and telegrams. Btw, these cards usually contain money for the family of the deceased, and it can get quite dicey which family member gets which cards {and therefore the money enclosed in the card}.

Some funerals had children in attendance. Usually {in my experiences}the only children who go to funerals iare members of the immediate or extended family}. Whether children attend the funeral or not is an individual choice that families make. But having children at the funeral service or the viewing {a scheduled time often the day before the actual funeral service, but in some places right before the funeral service} is traditional. The funeral was your chance to "pay your last respect" to your loved one, and to say goodbye to him or her. Having children {especially a newborn baby} at a funeral was proof that the loved one lives on. Another reason why chilren were supposed to attend funerals was that the service was suppose to be cathartic-and celebratory. Children grieve too {and the general feeling was that children need to 'get those feelings out' just as much as other people. Besides, if everyone you knew was at the funeral, who could babysit the children?.

[That said, I don't like to see children at funerals, especially funerals where I know people will be hysterical...I think it scares kids to see adults out of control].

One of the practices that I've noticed in Pittsburgh funerals, that I haven't seen in funerals in my hometown of Atlantic City, is the custom of having a large home made collage of the deceased person {with photographs of him or her from babyhood on, alone, and with family members and friends}. This collage is placed either right outside the entrance to the funeral home lobby {or where-ever the "viewing" of the body [in the casket] is...Sometimes there are two or more collages. One of these collages may be showcased near the casket at the main funeral service. And one of the collages may be showcased at the 'repast' {the dinner that is served for the deceased one's family and friends immediately after they come back from the cementary. Instead of collages, the funerals I have attended in Atlantic City have a 8 by 10 or larger framed photo of the deceased at the viewing and on the podium right above the casket.

I've found that some differences in funeral services depend on the minister and the traditions of the church. For instance, I've found that in my Baptist church in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the casket is not closed until mid way into the service-after the entire congregation walks single file pass the immediate family sitted in the first row of pews to the right of the church. Each person shakes the hand of the family members, or kisses or hugs them and then views the deceased person laying in the open casket and 'says their last goodbyes'. This is without a doubt absolutely the most emotional part of the service. This is when family members who had been 'holding it together' start crying. After all the other people in the congregation have walked past the body, then the immediate family has their turn to go up to the casket and see their loved one on last time. The last persons to go up are the ones who are the closest family members {wife, or husband, or mother etc}. Afterwards the casket is closed. This is without a doubt the most difficult part of the service. I absolutely hate it. In contrast, in the Black funeral services that I've attended in Pittsburgh {same denomination-Baptist} the casket is closed prior to the beginning of the funeral service.

In both cities {my hometown and my adopted town}, the actual funeral service always includes music {usually at least one soloist, and a 'thrown together' choir made up of mostly old people who could get off of work or are no longer working.}

And of course, there is a minister's "eulogy". I very much dislike fire & brimstone ministers at any time. Imo, that a minister would preach a sermon at a funeral at all, and preach fire & brimestone sermons at a funeral is beyond awful. I also hate it when at the end of their eulogy {"sermon?"} some ministers "open the doors of the church" so that people can "be saved"=join church... On an number of occassions at that time I've seen non-church going members of the deceased person's family-who are already emotionally overwrought-come forward crying to join church. My opinion of ministers who do this is this is unprintable.

See this article about Death and dying in the Black experience . Most of the customs mentioned in that article are familiar to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 08:35 PM

I'm with you there Zi.....I think 'veiewing the body' is quite disrespectful...and have FORBIDDEN my family to allow it. No, you don't have to look but sometimes it is difficult not to.

One funeral I went to, the 'minister' (?) gave a sermon based on Revelation!!!!! The 4 Horsemen!!!!

Yes, I can see the children of the family, but the attendees very small children??? Breast fed infants, maybe....but a year old 'friend of the family'? If I couldn't find a sitter, I'd send a card and stay home.

Here, the mortuary recieves all the cards...gives them to the Head of the Family....


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: open mike
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 08:56 PM

These days the reception in memory of the person is often considered
a Celebration of their life. Sometimes there are legal or financial
issues which the survivors will need to comes to deal with, and if
the person is NOT to be cremated, there is some urgency for this
time-wise. Some cultures require burial with in 24 hours of death.
I think this is pre-embalming (which is really a LOOOONG time ago,
as embalming has been around for many centuries)

Perhaps there would have been a way to get to hear the proceedings
thru some sort of amplifier, for the hearing impaired, as most
facilities have a sound system of some sort.

The opportunity to get together to compile the information for the
obituary is a time that can be special for the family and friends
of the deceased. A funeral director, or mortuary director could
be an event organizer, and they could help the family and friends
plan a service or gathering that has all the elements that make
it an event not to be one such as you experienced, Sorcha. I am
sorry you found it to be lacking. Perhaps you want to start a business
to make sure that other folks in your area get a better deal!!

the memory i have of country funerals in my family is that they
almost always sing "The Old Rugged Cross" that song seems to be
special to people in the church in the neighborhood that my family
lived in.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 09:03 PM

If they do the Old Rugged or the Andy song (And He walked, etc) at mine I WILL rise up from the ashes like the Phoenix and HAUNT them the rest of their days!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: mack/misophist
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 09:53 PM

When my mother in law died, she was cremated. The ashes sat in our closet for over a year until her kids got together to scatter them. Makes sense to me. And no service.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 10:14 PM

I am just back from the burial of my father-in-law in Arlington National Cemetery. He had the full treatment -- riderless horse with reversed boots, coffin on the caisson pulled by horses, a bugler playing "Taps", a firing party, a band (!), and at least two platoons (80 people) to march and present arms.

The priest did not know him -- had to ask his name -- and basically talked to the family and not to the assembled people (about 100 attended).

Earlier, six weeks again to be precise, the priest at the funeral gave a modified canned sermon, probably No. 187, "Elderly Man Dies Who Was Very Active In The Parish." The family, however, choose the readings and the songs.

Why the time between funeral services and burial? Well, unless you've died in combat or are somebody like the President, there's a waiting list of four to six weeks....


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 10:38 PM

I have only been to one funeral here in China, Jade's grandmother passed away about 3 months back. She had been ill for some time and at 93 years old it was not unexpected.

Jade made most of the arrangements but I still had to go with her to the funeral parlour to help finalize the event and buy the casket which would hold the ashes. This was the Longhua Funeral Parlour just down the road from IKEA.

None of the quiet soft lighting, low music and dignity there. If I had not known what the place was I would have taken it for a 'normal' business. Loads of people all pushing and shoving to make sure they could be first in the queue to get the myriad of bits of paper needed to book and buy the services on offer. Plus some attempted haggling over prices. But as these places are government run the price on the sticker is what you pay.

Coffins were stacked on a rack nearby allowing you to choose easily and around the corner was a glass cabinet holding samples of the caskets for the ashes. Another counter hired out traditional mourning clothes. The staff were brusque -as is usual in China-none of the sympathetic quiet service you might expect in a western funeral parlour. It is after all a business and one where the customers never run out.

This list of various items and services we needed came to 50 in all and included a charge for the gas for the crematorium based on a rate of so many cubic meters over a period on one and a half hours, plus cooling time!

On the day of the funeral I put on a black suit and tie, but I was out of place, most people were simply dressed in shirts, trousers and trainers with a black swatch of cloth stitched to the arm of their shirts or blouses.

There must have been about 30 halls at the back of the Longhua where the service was to take place. All busy. Hundreds of people milling around awaiting the service for their particular family deceased. Again none of the quiet dignity I would have expected. Cars vying with cars for a parking space, shouts and hollering as 6 people gave parking advice to the poor driver trying to reverse into a space with flower delivery vans trying to barge through to deliver their load and get off to the next 'customer'.

About 20 minutes before the service began the open coffin was brought in and we all had to get a picture taken with Grandma. We had to line up behind the coffin to get the pics done. I was the 'official' photographer. The same things was going on in the hall adjacent to ours, I had baulked at the idea of doing a video but I need not have worried. Some people that night who missed the event would be treated to a home movie…..

The service was short a few speeches and then the coffin was brought forward so small paper models in the shape of silver money bars could be put into the coffin. She was 93 so I guess she did not need the paper cars, luxury villas that are also used in China and Hong Kong. The Chinese government is cracking down on some of the paper items that can be put in a coffin. One of those banned items is paper condoms. Gran certainly did not need those. But it did strike me that if they are banned does that mean China has dropped the one angelette per couple policy in its section of heaven?

Up until the time the coffin was brought forward there had been quiet weeping. As the lid was nailed down the proper funereal wailing started and there was again a push and shove as people tried to stop the coffin being taken away or who wanted to touch the coffin one last time. At that point a brass band of about 8 people suddenly turned up and started playing away. I had heard them earlier but I did not realize we would be treated to two thumped out songs. As the brass band finished a group of uniformed people came in to end the wailing and ordered people to stand back as they took charge of the coffin to take it to the crematorium.

We had to wait around a further hour, why I am not too sure, but in that time I noticed one 'uncle' raking through the rubbish bins to rescue and flatten the plastic water bottles. He could sell those at a profit and there were plenty of them. Where he hid them I do not know but where there's muck there's money, even at a funeral parlour.

Suddenly everyone started moving off. I followed; it was time for the wake dinner in the aptly named Angelic Restaurant….


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 10:47 PM

LOL, Frank....sounds like my kind of place!

Laurel, yes, 'business' often does need to happen in the family, but at the GRAVESIDE or the reception??????


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Janie
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 11:04 PM

I don't know that I have ever been to a funeral that I found boring or experienced as meaningless. Granted, most of the funerals and memorial services I have attended have been those of family members or close friends. With friends and family arriving from all over the country over the course of 2 or 3 days, houseguests, the wake and the big family meals and get-togethers, they are more like family reunions than anything else. They really do strike me as a celebration of the life of the person who died.
    Other than family funerals, I have attended funerals and memorial services of clients who died and those of neighbors. I go to those out of respect for their families and because I value and have a responsibility to participate in the significant rites that reinforce community. I listen to the eulogies and get a deeper sense of who that person was. As neighbors, we look out for one another and are cordial, but rarely know each other intimately.
    While I would not take my son to any of those funerals, I think children do belong at the funerals of family members they knew or of close family friends with whom they had relationships.
    And when a child in their community dies, the children belong at the service also. When my son was in the third grade a classmate and friend was killed by her stepfather in a triple-murder/suicide. While she and my son were not close friends, they sat together in class, had been in classes together since kindergarten, and also belonged to and participated in the parish life of our church. Her stepfather also had his own children who went to the same school. One of his chidlren was also a third grader and the other just a year older.    Darn near every child in the third grade was at that memorial service, and it clearly brought a sense of closure, comfort and safety to all of them.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 11:12 PM

Well, it all depends on the individual circumstances, doesn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 11:23 PM

Where known, I think it all depends on the wishes of the deceased. It's thier day as far as I'm concerned.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Janie
Date: 19 Aug 06 - 11:35 PM

Well, sure it does, LH. And I don't mean to imply that holding funeral or memorial services are mandatory either. Just saying they are not necessarily macabre--tho' the one that prompted Sorch to post certainly sounded that way.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 03:13 AM

When my friend Carlos died, we had a picnic at the Unitarian church and sang and laughed and cried and shared stories all afternoon. Same thing with a few other folkie friends. It seems sad to say "I don't want one of those when I'm dead." Funerals are for those who are left behind. Don't spoil the party. Perhaps, though, it's important to have a funeral or memorial service that reflects the person who died, not the expectations of the etiquette manuals.
Sinsull, I want to sing a couple songs for you when you go - but stick around for a while, whydontcha.
Hmmm. What would be a good song for sinsull - "Hang on the Bell, Nellie"?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 03:23 AM

I'm busy drinking beer, watching TV and eating burgers, as there are so many places I want my ashes scattered there's not enough of me to go round.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 07:31 AM

Funerals are for those who are left behind.

Completely the opposite of my view then Joe, I think it is a day to respect the person and try to do things they way they wanted.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not sggesting it should be a formal event. I think the oddest one I remember was a guy who wanted to put out in a bin bag with the rest of the rubbish.

OK that bit couldn't be carried out and it ended up as a private cremation with only his wife present. The rest of his wish was carried out though. That was that we should all go on a pub crawl (with the names of the pubs weshould visit listed) at his expense. It worked out really well and I think completely the way he would have wanted it with a bit of humour and absolutely no maudlin stuff.

On the other hand, if someone else wishes for say a formal Christian burial, etc. That is eqally fine my me. Again, it is thier wish that matters to me, not my own view.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: JennyO
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 07:45 AM

Janie, when my son was 9, his best friend was killed when his mother drove him and his brother off a cliff, in an attempted mass suicide. The boys died and she survived, only to successfully commit suicide a few weeks later.

Only the week before the event, we had my son's friend at his birthday party, brought by one parent and picked up by the other. They were estranged.

My son wanted very much to go to his friend's funeral, but the boy's father wouldn't allow him - or any of his friends - to go. He was naturally quite upset that he was not allowed to go. Going to the funeral definitely would have helped bring a sense of closure for him, and I'm sure that it would have helped him deal with the tragedy better. As has already been said, it does depend on circumstances.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Zany Mouse
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 09:30 AM

I think my funeral will be very small because I gave instructions that the only people to attend will be the people who bothered to keep in touch with me in my lifetime!

I think it is truly stupid and hypocritical to not give up time to the living and then attend their funeral when they haven't bothered seeing that person in years. MAKES ME MAD!

One friend of mine went to an ex's mother's funeral when, not only had they not bothered to see each other in years, but it was a very costly trip.

Rhiannon


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: fat B****rd
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 01:28 PM

I've been to a few funerals under various circumstances. The most memorable being a Humanist Service organised when the man found out he was terminally ill. Music by Sting and Hendrix,a eulogy by his uncle and SRO at the Crematorium.
I'm with Little Hawk. Circumstances dictate. I've paid my respects to vicims of accidents, suicides, cancer and in my parents case old age.
My mum, for instance, left money specifically for a meal and drinks for the friends and family. On other occasions, of course, there were no such good feelings.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 01:50 PM

I've been to a couple of private outdoor gatherings...funerals for friends where we ourselves set it up in our own fashion to remember those we knew...and those occasions were quite meaningful. I don't care much for professional funeral homes and the traditional funeral service. They seem very odd to me. Nor do I care for the custom of viewing a body in a casket.

I've been to pet funerals that seemed quite meaningful. Again, because we ourselves set it up and did it the way we wanted to.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 04:13 PM

Sorcha:
as it's you,
My ex-Scout Master (and ex-member of the church choir) died, and his funeral was a church affair. Well attended, and with enough choir members (even mid-week) to raise a joyful noise. We sent him off to Hyfrydol & Cwm Rhondda, two great Welsh hymn tunes.
His niece then took those who wanted to go back to 'The Conway' (where we once met you) and put drinks money behind the bar so we could raise a glass or two in remembrance.

Friends and Scout colleagues from over the years all met together and reminisced, and left feeling we had 'seen-him-off' in what he would have considered a fitting manner.

CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Sorcha
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 04:30 PM

Yes, they are all different, I agree. Been to good ones, bad ones, and truly awful ones. Would like to be present at mine! LOL


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 05:27 PM

I'm not expecting to have much of one, because I will probably have outlived my immediate family members at that point. Besides, I am universally hated due to the fact that William Shatner takes me for jaunts in his private plane and other stuff like that... (grin)

"Oh, it's lonely at the top!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Folkiedave
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 06:51 PM

A few of note recently.

Peter Elliott (Birtley) left his body for scientific research all except his arsehole which he left to the Tory Party. Pat Elliot had the best singing I have heard at her wake.

Sid Long would have been sad to miss his - he would have liked to compere it.

Harry Bell (a mate in Sheffield) left £1,000 to be spent on beer and sandwiches for a good wake. The organiser spent all of a tenner on sandwiches.

My mother wished to go from the church in which she had been christened and married. I wrote out what to say and told the vicar to say that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 07:35 PM

Zany Mouse: You are so right on there. As the horizon gets closer I, too, realize that very few feel any concern about my life---but attending ,for show or obligation, a funeral is right up many alleys.   Which is why I posted my earlier note---tongue in cheek, yet deep down true.

               By the way, to show I am not hypocritical in this---I have not attended funerals of people I did not have involvement with in life---for whatever reasons. Relatives and acquaintences (I use that word because if they were friends we would have had social contact) because I thought it hypocritical to atttend. Let people think what they will.   

               This thread is becoming a group therapy session---I hope no one will be sending a bill to Bill.

BH


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Janie
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 08:15 PM

Ah, but Bill H., you are talking about the psychology of funerals. There is also the sociology of funerals;^)


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 08:31 PM

Janie: That needs an explanation for this old brain.   NOt sure what yu mean by that.

BH


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Subject: RE: BS: Funerals and Other Boring Stuff
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 20 Aug 06 - 09:12 PM

FolkieDave:
The Tory party don't need any more arseholes!


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