Jump to content
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Sign in to follow this  
Bong-Man

Funerals & the Culture of Death

Recommended Posts

I've never understood people who have good times at funerals/wakes, even if it's the funeral of a loved one. I'm too depressed and upset to be drinking and dancing. I've buried too many people (friends and family) in the last 15 years that to me, it's all become numb. My entire family has a section of their closets devoted to funeral wear. I bought a funeral veil to wear to my grandma's funeral in 1996 thinking I wouldn't have to wear it for a long time......I've worn it 6 times since then.

For me, I never got the chance to do it right for my father. His choice. I think giving people a way of saying goodbye is important and healthy. Grieving must happen but, we need to move on and not live with the fear of death ourselves. A little celebration of the persons life can be helpful with that as long as it's respectful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I happen to also love cemeteries. One of the largest in the Los Angeles area is very near my place of work, I and go there often just to hang out for a few minutes and read the headstones. I will often search for celebrity graves that I have researched at 'Findagrave.com' and sometimes take a photo or too as well.

In addition, every vacation I take will usually involve visiting a historic graveyard in the area I am visiting. Earlier this year on trip to Northern California we stopped at town named Colma, California (just south of San Francisco). Colma is often called the "City of the dead" because there at least a dozen or more cemeteries in that town. On our visit there we found the graves of Joe Dimaggio (famous American baseball player), William Randolph Hearst and Wyatt Earp, who also happens to be a distant relative of mine.

http://www.findagrave.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've never understood people who have good times at funerals/wakes, even if it's the funeral of a loved one.

What if it's exactly what the departed ones want you to do? It seems to be a wish of many people: "for god's sake, don't mourn!"

My great grand-dad always wanted gipsies playing and dancing at his funeral. Instead, he had a normal orthodox mass, in spite of the fact that he never believed in god. If I consider what kind of person he was, and what his "worldview" was, it was a rather pathetic funeral.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hate funerals. What's the logic of saying goodbye to empty shell? I think it's good to pay a tribute to a dear, departed soul, but I also think that crying over a dead piece of flesh is not the best way to do that.

I couldn't agree more. I remember going to my first funeral when I was 8 or 9. My mom took me up to see the casket, and the first thing I thought was, "I don't know who that is, and it's not the person I knew". I'm 48 now, and I was surprised when I still had the exact same emotions. I don't mean it in a cold way, but looking at someone's dead body does absolutely nothing for me as far as an emotional reaction. They are gone, and what's left is as worthless as a banana peel.

Anyone remember Jim Hanson's funeral, the creator of the Muppets ? Now that was my style !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I couldn't agree more. I remember going to my first funeral when I was 8 or 9. My mom took me up to see the casket, and the first thing I thought was, "I don't know who that is, and it's not the person I knew". I'm 48 now, and I was surprised when I still had the exact same emotions. I don't mean it in a cold way, but looking at someone's dead body does absolutely nothing for me as far as an emotional reaction. They are gone, and what's left is as worthless as a banana peel.

Anyone remember Jim Hanson's funeral, the creator of the Muppets ? Now that was my style !

I had exactly the same feeling when I saw my granddad's dead body. It was not him; "it" looked like a waywork from Madame Tussaud.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmmm....Interesting. You see, I think we're about to enter a new phase of death. Have you noticed that in a very short time we've gone from laying people out for 1 day instead of 3 ? 20 years ago you wouldn't think of showing up at a funeral without a suit on. Now hardly anyone has a suit. I say funerals as we know it are gone as soon as the generation older than us has passed. People our age and younger aren't into all that crap. We're doing it to appease our elders, and it's just easier at this point to go with the flow.

I think you are right, Bong-Man.

Actually I've noticed how people never take photos at funerals (unless they're for somebody famous or important).

It almost seems like bad taste to take photos at a funeral, which I guess goes along with the theory that we only want to remember the good times. But death is as important as being born. In fact they're the two most important events in your life and we take photos of neither of them...

On a side note, last week was rather interesting for me because by pure coincidence I saw two people die in the street. One guy I saw bleed to death on a busy city street (he did have emergency people with him) and then three days later, around the corner from my house, a woman died on the footpath. I never realised how long they leave the body just lying there, covered in a white sheet.

8 years ago my grandfather died while I was talking to him. It's an incredibly distinctive change that you see when they die. There's no way, i think, you could fake being dead, because the body takes on a look that is markedly different from when you're alive. It's very difficult to explain.

I tell you an unusual coincidence:

my family had been friends with this woman for many years, we used to play at her house when we were kids. She had a huge tree in her back yard that was a horrible old tree that was always sick and rotting. The leaves were always brown and mottled. Her daughter wanted it cut down. But it stayed. Anyway this woman died a few years ago of cancer, and she was cremated and her ashes were buried in her front garden. Then about 3 days after her death, the big tree in the back yard suddenly blossomed with hundreds of white flowers. Everyone was stunned, because no one even knew that it was a flowering tree. She had lived in that house for 30 years, and her children, my family, her neighbours had never once seen that tree in bloom. For 30 years everyone thought it was a rotting tree. And it bloomed for a week, and it has never bloomed again, and that was 5 years ago.

Whether or not it has anything to do with her death is debatable, but I thought it was an extremely unusual coincidence

Wow, and WOW! Cool story about the tree.

Sorry for your losses and the things you witnessed, GB. Was your grandfather's death unexpected?

I've never seen a person die, but I've seen animals "give up the ghost" as they say. There is a distinct change, for sure.

But I have not once said a dead dog looked good, come to think of it. :mellow:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've never understood people who have good times at funerals/wakes, even if it's the funeral of a loved one. I'm too depressed and upset to be drinking and dancing. I've buried too many people (friends and family) in the last 15 years that to me, it's all become numb. My entire family has a section of their closets devoted to funeral wear. I bought a funeral veil to wear to my grandma's funeral in 1996 thinking I wouldn't have to wear it for a long time......I've worn it 6 times since then.

:'(

:console:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What if it's exactly what the departed ones want you to do? It seems to be a wish of many people: "for god's sake, don't mourn!"

Even if it's what they want, I physically can't do it. Someone I love has died, and even if they want people doing the limbo in the cemetary, I can't bring myself to act all cheery. I save the cheer and the smiles and the happy fun times for weddings, graduations, birthdays, and other such mirthful occasions.

I don't begrudge people that CAN do that, though. They've clearly got something that I don't, or can compartmentalize better than I can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is the way I want to go out, In Nawlin's we live with a bang and go out with a bang accept I'll make it easier on them by getting creamated and do my part to help rebuild the coastline by throwing my ashes into the

Gulf of Mexico :D (thought they were gonna drop him) :o

<click

So you're not interested in the above ground burial? I have been to a couple cemetaries in New Orleans, as many tourist have. Very creepy. Your idea sounds very nice, if you have to be dead...a topic i don't enjoy thinking about.

I hate funerals and unless it's someone close to me, i won't be attending.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Even if it's what they want, I physically can't do it. Someone I love has died, and even if they want people doing the limbo in the cemetary, I can't bring myself to act all cheery. I save the cheer and the smiles and the happy fun times for weddings, graduations, birthdays, and other such mirthful occasions.

I understand that. That's why I don't like funerals.

I don't begrudge people that CAN do that, though. They've clearly got something that I don't, or can compartmentalize better than I can.

I think that fully depends on everyone's perception of death.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only gone to two funerals that I can actually remember... the others took place when I was a fidgety little kid who couldn't sit still for the entire ceremony so I spent the entire time in the backseat of a car with my pissed off, chain-smoking dad... I feel bad about that now.

The first funeral I can remember was probably 5 years ago when my great grandmother died at the age of 100. She was an amazing woman... grew up in Mexico, moved to a farm in the King Ranch in Texas, raised 8 kids and managed to outlive 3 of them and her late husband. She was loud, stubborn, dramatic, and colorful... she would always be telling stories and old folk tales to everyone at her big kitchen table. I wasn't very familiar with the Spanish language so I didn't really converse with her, but I loved listening to her talk and I know everyone else did too. So, when she died after a lengthy illness people reacted differently. Her only unmarried daughter went into hysterics... she said the spirit of mama would come visit her at night, she kept candles lit, she covered all the mirrors in the house, she brought curanderas to the farmhouse and had them bless it... things that the normal person would think is kind of loopy, but the Mexican culture of death is so different than in other places. Those of us who grew up without being so immersed in this Mexican culture reacted differently.. we saw her as having lived a full life and while we missed her, we knew she had no unfinished business or left anything undone. It was so surreal to sit there at the funeral home and see how differently people reacted. The older family members and friends would walk up to the casket and literally start stroking the dead body, hug it, kiss it, etc... they'd be in hysterics, some shouting out things in Spanish, some crying.

This brings me to the other funeral, which took place maybe a year later. It was for my aunts father-in-law, who was the first Mexican American federal judge appointed by Kennedy. He was near 100.. had a long and successful life.. had a loving family and lots of friends.. I think somewhere around 2000 people attended. He had a military funeral.. very stoic, not a lot of crying, military gun salute. This casket was very minimal... sleek and elegant.. whereas my great-grandmothers casket was ornate and--to be honest-- kind of gaudy. I suppose cultural values have a lot to do with how one regards death, but comparing these two funerals in retrospect, it's interesting to see how different both situations were.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was 10 in 1965. My small family got hit bad from about 1965 to 1975. Two grandmothers, three uncles, step grandfather, couple of aunts. Phew.

My fathers father died in 1928. I am trying to find out where he is buried and let me tell you it ain't easy. Why don't surviving relatives keep important stuff like death certificates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was 10 in 1965. My small family got hit bad from about 1965 to 1975. Two grandmothers, three uncles, step grandfather, couple of aunts. Phew.

My fathers father died in 1928. I am trying to find out where he is buried and let me tell you it ain't easy. Why don't surviving relatives keep important stuff like death certificates.

For the longest time, my parents, sister and I were the only relatives living in the state of Illinois, so the care and upkeep of all the graves were left to us. Which wasn't easy. We too had a hard time finding where everyone was buried so that we could arrange perpetual care. It doesn't help when everyone acts like it's some big secret.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've only gone to two funerals that I can actually remember... the others took place when I was a fidgety little kid who couldn't sit still for the entire ceremony so I spent the entire time in the backseat of a car with my pissed off, chain-smoking dad... I feel bad about that now.

The first funeral I can remember was probably 5 years ago when my great grandmother died at the age of 100. She was an amazing woman... grew up in Mexico, moved to a farm in the King Ranch in Texas, raised 8 kids and managed to outlive 3 of them and her late husband. She was loud, stubborn, dramatic, and colorful... she would always be telling stories and old folk tales to everyone at her big kitchen table. I wasn't very familiar with the Spanish language so I didn't really converse with her, but I loved listening to her talk and I know everyone else did too. So, when she died after a lengthy illness people reacted differently. Her only unmarried daughter went into hysterics... she said the spirit of mama would come visit her at night, she kept candles lit, she covered all the mirrors in the house, she brought curanderas to the farmhouse and had them bless it... things that the normal person would think is kind of loopy, but the Mexican culture of death is so different than in other places. Those of us who grew up without being so immersed in this Mexican culture reacted differently.. we saw her as having lived a full life and while we missed her, we knew she had no unfinished business or left anything undone. It was so surreal to sit there at the funeral home and see how differently people reacted. The older family members and friends would walk up to the casket and literally start stroking the dead body, hug it, kiss it, etc... they'd be in hysterics, some shouting out things in Spanish, some crying.

This brings me to the other funeral, which took place maybe a year later. It was for my aunts father-in-law, who was the first Mexican American federal judge appointed by Kennedy. He was near 100.. had a long and successful life.. had a loving family and lots of friends.. I think somewhere around 2000 people attended. He had a military funeral.. very stoic, not a lot of crying, military gun salute. This casket was very minimal... sleek and elegant.. whereas my great-grandmothers casket was ornate and--to be honest-- kind of gaudy. I suppose cultural values have a lot to do with how one regards death, but comparing these two funerals in retrospect, it's interesting to see how different both situations were.

Interesting story, it's nice you were able to know your great-grandmother. Not many people get that chance anymore with people starting families later and later.

I knew my great-grandmother and she was of Italian decent. She used to tell us stories of her childhood in Italy, you just can't read about this in history books.

(Electrophile @ Jul 31 2008, 03:57 PM) post_snapback.gifEven if it's what they want, I physically can't do it. Someone I love has died, and even if they want people doing the limbo in the cemetary, I can't bring myself to act all cheery. I save the cheer and the smiles and the happy fun times for weddings, graduations, birthdays, and other such mirthful occasions.

I used to feel the same, hell I remember when we burried my best friend I started balling uncontrolably and I never cried at a funeral before. I was embarassed but I couldn't control it he was like a brother to me, we went everywhere together. Finally pulled myself together because I was one of the pawlbearers. :(

(~tangerine~ @ Jul 31 2008, 04:27 PM) post_snapback.gifSo you're not interested in the above ground burial? I have been to a couple cemetaries in New Orleans, as many tourist have. Very creepy. Your idea sounds very nice, if you have to be dead...a topic i don't enjoy thinking about.

I hate funerals and unless it's someone close to me, i won't be attending.

No, I don't want to end up floating down Canal St. if the city ever floods again. :o

(chef free @ Jul 30 2008, 06:43 PM) I'm reminded of a biker who arranged for some of his ashes to be rolled up with all the weed into joints for his wake!!

A buddy of mine told his wife that when he dies he wants to be creamated and put into a douche and passed through one last time :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what is the deal with all of the roadside and sidewalk memorials these days?  From my apartment to my bus stop there are at least 4 memorial one of which has been there for what looks like years with fake flowers and and old candles.

Isnt the cemetery the proper place for these things?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tibetan Sky Burial for me:

Take my body to the mountain plain of the Yerpa Valley, blow incredibly large horn, a few hundred carrion birds show up for the party, five minutes later body gone, 12 hours later body deposited all over Tibet as fertilizer.

Yep, the cycle of life

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually took the course on death and dying in college.  It was interesting.  Of course much of its based on your religious beliefs.  I have stated to be cremated and am likely to stick with it but I go back and forth.  I am a devout Catholic and do not want to do anything against the teachings of Jesus.  And I will have Stairway to Heaven played at my funeral.  My daughters both love Zeppelin and it will be done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, LedZeppfan1977 said:

I actually took the course on death and dying in college.  It was interesting.  Of course much of its based on your religious beliefs.  I have stated to be cremated and am likely to stick with it but I go back and forth.  I am a devout Catholic and do not want to do anything against the teachings of Jesus.  And I will have Stairway to Heaven played at my funeral.  My daughters both love Zeppelin and it will be done.

No worries, Jesus does not mention the proper way to dispose of a body anywhere within the Gospels so you can do what you wish. Even the Old Testament does not really address it but it does talk about embalming, the perfection of god's creation, and the resurrection of the body and this has been used as the basis for justification of burial within catholicism. My aunt was a devout catholic, went to mass daily and worked directly with her local diocese for neighborhood projects. When she passed last year she was cremated and her ashes present in the church right next to the altar. The good padre had no issue whatsoever.

I tend to look at it this way, if there is a god I doubt he / she / it will be stumped by a cremation. If we were fashioned from the dust, god should be able to reassemble us from the dust.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, IpMan said:

No worries, Jesus does not mention the proper way to dispose of a body anywhere within the Gospels so you can do what you wish. Even the Old Testament does not really address it but it does talk about embalming, the perfection of god's creation, and the resurrection of the body and this has been used as the basis for justification of burial within catholicism. My aunt was a devout catholic, went to mass daily and worked directly with her local diocese for neighborhood projects. When she passed last year she was cremated and her ashes present in the church right next to the altar. The good padre had no issue whatsoever.

I tend to look at it this way, if there is a god I doubt he / she / it will be stumped by a cremation. If we were fashioned from the dust, god should be able to reassemble us from the dust.

And just like in the movie Against The Current with the star from the movie Risen, Joe Fiennes, he says if  heaven exists its not a stretch to believe they have doughnuts there.  LOL.  I believe my male cat, Diesel, who I love more than most humans, will be brought back to life to spend eternity with me and the wife and a few others.   Why not?  I am going to tell Jesus, can I please have my baby, my cat back?  The Egyptians mummified their cats.  Believed in the afterlife they would be there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...I truly believe I will be reunited with my two pups at the end of the Rainbow Bridge.  If heaven is a place of eternal bliss, THAT is what has to happen!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Stryder1978 said:

...I truly believe I will be reunited with my two pups at the end of the Rainbow Bridge.  If heaven is a place of eternal bliss, THAT is what has to happen!

I think I would like the cremated thing and my ashes mixed into the monkey food at the zoo. Weird huh? I have no special reverence for being buried and wasting money you should spend while you are living.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, kipper said:

I think I would like the cremated thing and my ashes mixed into the monkey food at the zoo. Weird huh? I have no special reverence for being buried and wasting money you should spend while you are living.

I agree completely...put me in a cardboard box and send me through the furnace.  Only problem is, as a Catholic, the papacy has decided that I'm STILL supposed to be buried in consecrated soil.  I have in my will that my executor is to pay a climber to dump my ashes on the top of Mount Everest!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Stryder1978 said:

I agree completely...put me in a cardboard box and send me through the furnace.  Only problem is, as a Catholic, the papacy has decided that I'm STILL supposed to be buried in consecrated soil.  I have in my will that my executor is to pay a climber to dump my ashes on the top of Mount Everest!

I didnt know that is what they believe. I see families at one local cemetery drinking beer and sitting around in lawn chairs having a picnic and think they should have just buried the guy in a parking lot between a KFC and liquour store if that is what the guy was in to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...it's a recent decision by the Catholic Church.  Personally, I think it is just an excuse for the Church to make money selling a burial plot.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...