Friday, May 12, 2006

Funerals: I hate them! What brought this on you ask? Last weekend my great aunt died. She was 91 and had a fantastic life! She wasn't sick until just a month ago when she started having mini strokes. It was making her not herself, she fell and broke a hip, in the hospital had another mini stroke and passed away. I HAD to go to the funeral home last Saturday evening and then the funeral on Sunday. I am afterall, the only grandchild. This was my Grandmother's sister, I was expected to be there.

Here's the deal... My Grand daddy is a southern baptist preacher, I grew up going to weddings & funerals. Each of my Grandparents on both sides had HUGE families and were super duper tight, I went to funerals through them too, all my life. I would have nightmares about it and my parents couldn't figure out why. Well, think about it.... all these people....gawking at a dead body.....a funeral with some people having howling breakdowns... What do you expect? I have had an intense fear of funeral homes my entire life!

Some people (namely my immediate family members) think I am a bit cold hearted and rude. It's not that, I feel a deep loss for people who have gone to heaven! The closest losses to me being my 2 Grandparents and Andy's Mom (He'd lost his Dad before I knew him). I feel great loss. The thing is, I believe in heaven. I know that these family members were saved by a loving God who promised them that once they'd accepted him, they would spent eternity in Heaven with him. What could be better?

I have meltdowns, I'm not "in human". Seeing old blue & white trucks like my PawPaws send me into a tizzy, smelling green beans cooking makes me miss MawMaw and I almost can't take it, thinking of all the things that I can't share with my Mother in law make me so very sad. The thing is, I don't mind having my meltdowns in my own time.

I made the decision a few years ago to stop going into the room with "the dearly departed". I can't get the image out of my head once it's there. The last time I saw my MawMaw I had been there to visit on a Friday night with a great friend of mine. (Jeff Collins, God love ya!) We said goodbye on the side porch like always and I hugged her. There she stands, in her little mumu style house coat. That's the vision I have and I treasure it so closely!!! The last time I saw PawPaw was in the funeral home laying in a casket looking pasty. It's terrible and I have to concentrate to think back to before that time. It's not like the person lying there is going to say their goodbye, they're gone. I believe your last breath on this earth is your very first in Heaven. (If you've taken care of all that with God before hand!)

So here's my deal.... when I'm gone..... throw a BBQ. (Ribs if you will!) Invite all my friends and family there. Have a great time. Play upbeat music really loud! (a mix of contemporary christian, 80's, southern rock, country and a few oldies thrown in) Talk about that dork Monica and stupid things she did every now and then. Enjoy yourselves, that's what I'll be doing~

13 comments:

Ker-Bear said...

When Scott's Grandfather died, we went back to his house, and opened a bottle of Christian Brothers Brandy that Al had just for this occassion. We opened it up, took a picture of all of us gathered around and toasted him. That's a fun memory of a funeral. But Al told us all several times where that bottle was and what it was for. So we listed :)

monica said...

That's what I'm talkin' about!!!! Woo Hoo!!! That's awesome~

nfrogirl said...

Monica....I've been to more funerals in my lifetime like you and in some ways I feel the same as you, but what I go to funeral for now is to show support to the families of those departed. I hate havingthe last image of my Grandpa was him lying there, but it gets easier to remember him now the way he was and not to flash back. I also try to sit away from the decessed love one and that helps. If you are "expected" to be there then you are going for the family support not the decessed. Maybe that might help.

monica said...

You are 100% right and that's the lecture I get from my Mom. That sure doesn't make it any easier though. Sometimes I just have to do what's best for me though and flee the scene.

Joanne said...

I'm so sorry about your great aunt. I'm glad she lived a great, long life!

I feel exactly the same way as you do. I come from an Italian family and there's nothing more heart wrenching as someone wailing and throwing themselves on the casket.

The whole viewing thing has always freaked me out. I know people say that it helps you to accept the fact that the person's dead. I don't get it. I've lost three of my grandparents, one of whom was very close to me. I was able to understand the reality of their deaths long before I was forced to view the body. I'd rather not be forced to have that vision in my head. I'd rather remember the person at their most vital. It's hard enough if you've watched someone die of an illness.

I completely want everyone to have a fun party too and skip the morbid service when I die. My uncle passed away earlier this year and we had a lovely lunch just talking about the fun times we all had together and supporting his widow and their boys.

The best thing anyone did for me when I lost the grandmother who was so close to me was tell me how kind she was to them. A second cousin I rarely see came up to me as I sat in the back, avoiding the surreal viewing and just told me a story I never heard about her. Made me smile and made my grief easier to take.

nfrogirl said...

I lvoe those stories you hear. that is the only good part about funerals. About a week after my granpa died we found out that he was married before my grandma, but she passed away during childbirth and then heard a bunch of stories about how they lived in Iran...

I have sitting by the casket i was forced to for my dads, but thankfully I've had Alex to keep me away from the grandparents.

Monica if you need to flee then flee, but showing up for 5 minutes really helps the family, whether you realize it or not.

Traci said...

I agree with you Monica whole heartedly (bad spelling). Perry and I have had many conversations about this subject.

As many memories as you have with a person, you can never forget the picture you have of them laying in a casket. This image never leaves your mind.

I have lost two friends of mine, one to suicide (by gunshot) and one to heart disease. They were extremely young and full of life. I have had many many years of memories. But when I had to see them both laying in a casket all caked with makeup and looking flat and devoid of that life that I knew they once had, I will never forget the image, ever!!!

I have sworn up and down that if I die in a hospital situation the only person that is going to view my dead body is the doctor, and the coroner. I will be cremated and I party thrown in my honor.

monica said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one! I don't think I mentioned in all that rambling that when my Great Grandma died (@ age 99 mind you) that her body was brought back to their house for viewing. Grandpa Carroll was 100 at the time and it was easier for him to be at home. Now talk about drama. For him, it worked and was fine...for me in that house where I'd gone to visit (and then had to return to visit) at a young age (7 or 8ish) It was terrible!! Grandpa Carroll lived to be 103 too, by the way. Neat huh? Healty too, lived with family the last 3 years, but was still getting around and was very social!

I'm encouraged by all the discussion!

RaLelle said...

I'm at the "I hate funerals" table. :( I've been to a lot it seems. I just really hate it.

nfrogirl said...

Ooo Monica that would be hard as well. To see them at home is wierd, that is why I didn't go down when my grandpa passed away last year to see my grandma, Grandpa passed away at home, everyone else was in a hospital or facility

Lola said...

Behind as always...

My grandfather died when I was 8, and I wasn't allowed to go to the funeral. I figured it was something really scary, and did not go to another one for many years. Now I am the one not crying, for many of the same reasons you already listed. Faith is a great healer.

When my Pop's sister died, it was a full blown Italian funeral, with mourners and all. Six weeks later, his other sister died. At the funeral home, I found a dime on the floor. I walked over to the casket, and flipped it in. Many of the mourners were astonished. My Grandfather asked me what I was thinking, and I calmly told him that I knew when Aunt Jo got where she was going, the first thing she's have to do was call Aunt Sadie. It definitely broke the ice.

monica said...

Ahh, that's funny! Good for you!

nfrogirl said...

Kelley that is to funny. But you know what I like that one....