Mark Terry

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The World Is Strange

March 8, 2009
I wonder which genius thought it would be a good idea to place the body of the dead person in an extremely expensive steel box, place it at the front of a room, pipe in creepy music you'd never listen to under any other circumstances, and then invite friends and family of the deceased to come in and talk about the appearance of the dead person.

I'm just sayin'.

9 Comments:

Blogger spyscribbler said...

Oh god, I had nightmares about my dad's funeral and calling hours for YEARS afterward. It's freakin' strange, alright.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Richmond Writer said...

My four year old upon arriving at the funeral home where his grandmother was laid out asked, "Is GrandDad still there?" He had been laid out there two years before.

It's closure. When you see that the person is truly dead you know you can move on with your life. Otherwise you do what my family did about the uncle who died an unexplained death and speculate if he faked it, if the mafia killed him, did the sixteen year old son really recognize his father after three days of bloated decay?

Hmmm, come to think of it, this might be why my husband and I have agreed we want to be cremated.

My sympathies to your family.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

My condolences to you and your family. I know it's hard on your wife right now, and it's hard to know how to offer support.

I know it's supposed to be a form of closure, but I would really rather believe the people just went away somewhere, and I'll meet up with them again some time. It upsets me that when I think of my father, who died twenty years ago, my first memory is him in a casket. I would much rather remember his glowing face on the ski slope, or enjoying dinner together, or talking while watching a video together.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

My sympathies, Mark.

Chris has it exactly. I have attended these hideous rituals and so I carry around with me that final memory of a shell, not even the person. It is barbaric. My orders are that I am to be cremated.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

My father donated his body to the University of Michigan Medical School. We had no viewing because my mother was heading into the early to-mid stages of Alzheimer's and in her lucid moments didn't want one because she's hard of hearing and because she finds those things extremely difficult. So we had a memorial service where the minister told anecdotes about my father as provided by us, then asked members of the congregation to stand up and say something about him if they were inclined. Many did and many of the stories were wonderful and funny and painted a picture of my father that even surprised me. It was what my Dad wanted and I think he was really inspired in that.

I know my father-in-law was really struggling with this viewing today, which was essentially 8 hours without a break--he insisted on it. As I told my wife afterwards, her father has this kind of macho, grim I'm-putting-my-head-down-and-bulling-my-way-through-this sort of attitude. I appreciate the sentiment--he didn't even want to break it up into two parts so he could go get a break in the middle and I suppose I can understand just how difficult it might be to go back after a break, but man, this was a tough day for him.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Linda Pendleton said...

Mark
I'm so sorry about your family's loss. Memorials are so much easier on everyone and can be a celebration of the person's life as in the case with your father.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Mark:
I am sorry for your loss. And your wife and kids . . . their grieving.

And no way, no how, am I going to be that person in the box. I have a will with VERY specific instructions to cremate me and then throw a party. My parents feel similarly.

Even Baby Girl has said she plans to donate her body to medical science when she dies. So I guess some of my feelings about funerals have been passed on. I don't imagine ANY of my kids would choose that when they are older.

My entire book of The Roofer was constructed around an Irish wake. It is indeed strange.
E

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Parker Haynes said...

My sincere condolences to you and your family. I understand how such a viewing can be comforting salve to some and sheer horror to others. Take heart that you all now have a new angel watching over you.

I still shudder when I remembers my own sweet mother's end of life service. Whoever does the final makeup job at the funeral home really blew this one. Mom was always one of the kindest and gentlest women on the planet but she was made up to look like the sternest of old time schoolteachers. And to top it off, the funeral director with coal black hair and a pasty white complexion could well have been the reincarnation of Count Dracula. Never again!

In contrast, when my wife's mother passed here at home some years back, I built a simple wooden coffin while My wife and her sister bathed and dressed the body. We buried her here on our small acreage the next day. Thank goodness for New Mexico law that still allows families to deal with the deceased themselves rather than requiring funeral homes and embalming.

7:08 AM  
Blogger Travis Erwin said...

Good point.

3:56 PM  

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