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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Funerals are...

If you cannot relate to this post you can blame my Facebook friends Lois and Brenda who gently pushed me into writing it. There is some possibility they too had a spirit pushing them. I have always said our creator is the biggest people user there ever was.

I believe another word for funeral is respect. It is a formal effort of those left behind to acknowledge the human existence of a soul.

I was about 20 when I attended my first funeral. I clearly remember my mother walking behind me as I approached the casket containing the remains of my paternal grandmother. My mother whispered, "You don't have to look." I did anyway and barely recognized the body I saw. That experience followed me for years and caused major problems dealing with death, until I realized the person I knew no longer existed.

Forty years later my mother died following a brief bout with cancer. It was her wish to be cremated and she chose not to have a service of any kind. I respected her wishes. She had been in a coma and I never had a chance to properly say goodbye to her. My daughter was 10 at the time and I still remember her reaction. She observed, "One day she was here and the next she wasn't."

A couple of days ago I learned of the death of a local man who had been in ill health for several years. I knew him because he and I had been fellow crafters, sharing our gifts at local craft shows. Bob was a very talented woodsman who created, among other things, beautiful religious articles such as crosses. I also know his widow as she was one of my Avon customers in my former life as an Independent Avon Representative.

Bob's funeral was this morning and I am very happy I took the time to attend. It was a celebration of life and not a sad affair like some funerals I have gone to. After the family was seated the fire alarm went off causing the crowd some momentary discomfort. The minister chimed in, "Bob never did do anything like anyone else!" That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the service.

One of the interesting things that was revealed was that Bob had written his own obituary. Right on Bob! I have been trying to convince people for years to do just that. Why would anyone want someone else telling the world who they were and what was important to them while they were here?

I chose not to go to the cemetery. Instead I will go later in the day to say a private goodbye to a very nice man that I am happy to have known.

Whether or not there is a formal funeral service I believe it is wise to spend a few moments just remembering the souls that are no longer here and thanking them for what they brought to our life.  It is the respectful thing to do.


  1. Great observations, Barbara...

    I've always viewed funerals as a time to honor the life of the person who has passed from his or her physical body, although I didn't grow up in a family that thought this way. I believe our spirits, our souls, our true beings, are permanent residents of our universe and that it's just our physical presences that move on.

    I, too, have already written my "final thoughts" and have "designed" the celebration that will take place after my body has moved on. It's gonna be a joyous affair with lots of food so bring a plate and a tambourine or drum or other noise-maker with you when you come! We're all gonna party hearty!

    Glad you chose to go this morning - it sounds like it was something that made you happy :D

    Love to you!

    1. I too believe our souls are eternal Lois. I am glad I went too.;)

  2. Great post Barbara,

    I was just speaking to my brother the other day about funerals as my mother is dying.

    I asked him if my mother had made her wish clear to him and her husband.

    My brother told me she wants to be cremated.
    My mother had told me this some years back after her sister died.
    So I knew it was her wish.

    I had told my brother that I don't really believe in viewing the body in the casket.

    I wondered who came up with that morbid idea.

    I was 10 when I attended my grandmothers funeral.
    I was disturbed as you can imagine seeing her dead body in the casket and I too carried that vision with me til this day 40 years later.

    I feel that if one is attuned to the soul and God's workings, funerals would not be necessary in the 'viewing of the body' but only for the sole purpose of celebrating the persons life.

    I loved the idea of writing your own obituary!
    But I am sure that most would not want go there as they would then have to face their own mortality which is difficult for most people.


    1. I'll tell you a little secret Maria. Along with not going to the cemetery I also chose not to view the remains. The family provided such a great photo of Bob that I wanted to remember him that way.