23 March 2006

The Funeral Post

I don't like dead people.

I don't mean to say that I started disliking my grandmother when she passed away. I just don't like to be near the earthly remains.

I remember clearly when Nanny died, and having to go up to the coffin to pray. It just seemed absurd. And creepy.

So when Granny died, I refused to go into the room at the wake. Thus starting a tradition of avoiding bodies in coffins. I just decided that I didn't want my last memory of someone to be of them, motionless in an ornate wooden box. Since then, I avoided my great-great-aunt's wake, and the wakes or funerals of many a family friend, family of a friend, and friends of the family.

Actually, I can almost count on one hand how many opportunities I've had, but I know how life works; people die.

So tonight, when I went to Great-Uncle Ben's wake as the family representative (what with my parents overseas, and my brother in T-Dot), I had no choice. I had to walk into the room with his ten (yes, ten) kids, and I couldn't say, "Actually, your dead father's body creeps me out, so I'm just going to stay on this side of the room, thanks. No, cousins had to show me around to see all the other cousins I've never met or don't remember (the downside to growing up far from your relatives). And, of course, some of them were standing near the coffin.

So, I dealt with it. I will probably not choose to do that on a regular basis, but I sucked it up. I did not kneel by the coffin or spend time staring at him. I did notice that he looked better than the last I'd seen him -- in a picture from his daughter's wedding. But he also looked kind of plastic-y, and very thin.

Maybe I should have had more people die around me so I would be more comfortable with it.

Tomorrow is the funeral. I hope it will be a closed-casket service. The only thing worse than knowing the body is lying at the front of the church is seeing the body lying there.

I am selfish. I hope the service is short. I hope we don't have to stand by the grave for too long. I hope my uncle -- who came into town today, and is giving me a ride, is not going to spend too much time standing around chatting after.

I guess I need to sleep. Death vacations are tiring.

3 comments:

Me said...

I don't think you would have enjoyed the Dead People Show at the Science Centre that I went to. There were many, many dead people - more than the average person ever needs to see.

I couldn't do the wake thing either. I was actually in the room when my aunt died, so it wasn't too strange seeing her "earthly" remains. But yeah, I'm not sure I need to see a body in order to have complete closure or whatever it is they say seeing the body is good for. I know they are gone. I'll deal with it.

Ridley Thunder said...

I did the same for my granny's funeral. I refused to watch the tape of her funeral because the people crying and the people sad is not what I remember of my grandma. I remember hapiness and smiling and cookies and hugs. So I know how you feel.

Spo said...

the thing about any funerals I've been to is that folk seem to catch up and get a bit wasted at the bar later - and it's all in the name of reminiscence and story telling for the folk who have passed - and I guess that's how I'd want it should I ever buy the farm - but still - it doesn't seem to make sense when you asociate death with "cracking good night" - have a beer but shed a tear.....