Monday, August 8, 2011

It's how you remember that's important...

On Friday, I attended my aunt's funeral.

Before I write anymore, I have to tell you that I'm not fond of funerals. I suppose no one is. But I don't like attending them. It's the whole -- seeing the person in the casket-unmoving-with scads of makeup on to make them look good but you know that this person isn't really looking good because they are, quite frankly, dead -- thing that sends a shiver through me. I don't go up to the casket to look at the person. Not anymore. I only did this once, when I was eleven, to see my "other" aunt lying there, that I knew I wouldn't attend many funerals for the remainder of my life.

I usually attend the wakes. Those are more social gatherings where you go to the showing of the body and later arrive at a relative's house where there's tons of food and good talk about those wonderful memories of the person who just passed on.

Well, this instance, I couldn't attend the wake. So I went to the funeral. Funerals tend to be one of two things: they are either extremely somber occasions where we reflect on our own mortality with dreariness, or they can be celebrations where the person who passed on has entered a new existence that is now free of pain, hunger and sadness as she starts a new adventure.

The latter is the type of funeral I attended. We remembered my aunt as the woman who gave happiness to people. We remembered her with poems, reading of sympathy cards, a few jokes, and songs and praises that sent people up to their feet clapping and singing and calling "AMEN" to let God know to get ready to open his pearly gates for someone rising up.

Interesting. While writing this and remembering my "other" aunt when I was eleven, I also remembered special things about her, such as her house. It was haunted, or at least us kids believed it was haunted. We never ventured farther in the house without an adult present. It was always dimly lit, with a picture of her son, our cousin, lost while fighting in World War I. It was one of those old time pictures, black-and-white, where the person has that eerie stare that follows you throughout the room. Brrrr! I could tell stories about that house, and about the place where my aunt lived.

Perhaps I will during the next few posts.


  1. Your post today is interestingly-timed for me. I just this morning received news that a very dear relative of mine has been found to have cancer, again. Due to her advanced age, it is unlikely that much can be done other than to keep her free from pain. I expect I'll be attending a wake and funeral sometime in the near future...

    I know what you mean about those things. I'm not freaked by the body, per se, but the whole process is one that doesn't generally lend itself to a good time, that's for sure. Those of a religious bent (I'm one) know that there is better ahead, but still...

    Anyway, God bless you, and God bless your aunt.

  2. That sounds like the best king of funeral...loud Amens and clapping...

  3. All I know is I'm not looking forward to mine... just hope somebody enjoys it.

  4. I don't like funerals either. I feel like everybody puts on too much of a show and laments how the world just lost a savior. People die. And like you said, it's a release from pain and suffering. Not that I won't miss those that I'm close to, but unless it was an accident it's nothing to become catatonic about.


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