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January 17, 2010

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Brian,

a very fine post. the best one to date imo. and 'que sera sera'... i too remember that well.


Talking about somber moods at funerals, here's one of my big beefs: Why do people insist on open caskets? I don't know how many times I've heard people say that, if you don't go say goodbye to the corpse, you'll regret it for the rest of your life.

When I was younger, I twice heeded this awful advice and regretted it to no end. I don't want to remember a stiff, lifeless body. I want to remember how the person lived!!

My family doesn't believe in funerals. It began with my father and his wishes that we met at the graveside before the burial and we didn't have an official saying anything. It was open to anyone who wanted to speak about my father. Then back to the house for a big dinner. There I began the tradition of having photos or mementos of the person. Recently I lost a cousin and she had requested no funeral so there was not a graveside either.

I have been to funerals (they are the most barbaric). I have not been where I could attend one (which has left me with some regrets when I would have liked to pay my respects). I have had these graveside times which are much more personal, and I don't think it matters what you do or don't do. Someone told me after my cousin having nothing that it wouldn't bring closure to the family and friends. I think that's sold to people but don't believe it. Death is closure and we don't need a service to bring us acceptance of it. We can carry on with memories of that person, find our own comfort with their life and loss and we don't need a ritual to do it. The graveside service though with a meal together afterward is a good memory to keep.

Very touching, thanks for sharing.

Thanks Brian I've thought much about you and your sisters resent passing.Particularly in light of the break we have both made from RSSB.My family is aging and I face that future with them from this vantage also.I'm grateful for what you have shared and grateful to be in this space

Brian,

Who arranged the memorial service for Carol Ann? Likewise, was there a burial and grave marker? Maybe, cremation? If Carol wasn't that religious, then why go through a memeorial service with a minister? Just curious, no big deal. Roger

Roger, my brother-in-law did the arranging. I believe the minister was suggested by the funeral home. The idea, which I can't disagree with, was to have a service which would be comfortable to both the Christians and non-Christians in attendance.

The minister did a pretty good job of that. It was overly religious to my taste, but probably somewhat under-religious to others (no mention of my sister being in a "better place," "with Jesus," or such).

Carol Ann was cremated. Her ashes were brought to the service by her husband. I guess that gave a focus of sorts -- the urn sitting on a table next to some flowers. Definitely way better than an open casket, which is gruesome in my opinion.

The ashes will be "buried," or whatever you do with ashes, in a hillside cemetery in the small California town where I grew up and where my mother's ashes are located. I suppose there will be a small marker.

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