This is a repost from a little over a year ago. I like essays that convey how I feel, with just the teensiest tinge of humor.....even at funerals.
My former mother-in-law (my ex's mother) passed away this weekend. She was 79. She was very good to me throughout our years together and we'd stayed in touch in the many, many years since I divorced her son. She'd been to our home, met my husband, and joined our family for graduation parties. Her void will be felt by many. She was truly loved by all who knew her.
I'm not a fan of funerals, nor do I really know anyone who is; excepting perhaps the funeral director who stands only to gain from other people's demise. Funerals are sad. They're uncomfortable. They bring up feelings and issues most of us would rather ignore. And they evoke the strangest of conversations.
Some topics I have witnessed at funerals include some common social mishaps and some that are......let's just say not so common. They are:
1. Doesn't he/she look good?I've never quite understood this one. The dearly departed is lying on stuffed satin with hands folded in a most unnatural pose....usually dressed in something they'd have never worn while living. No, he/she DOESN'T look good. They're dead! Dead is not typically attractive.
2. At least he/she isn't suffering any more.This stands to reason, but probably shouldn't be brought up in front of the family members who ARE suffering.
3. The family splurged on the deluxe casket.Yes, I've heard this more than once. Those coming to pay their last respects actually have the nerve to verbally disrespect the bereaved by making mention of the cost of the casket. I once heard an elderly woman ask if the casket was a "loaner" or was it for keeps. Hmmmm.
4. Look at all these flowers. And to think....Mabel was allergic.Attention, folks. Mabel won't be bothered by the allergens. Mabel has left the building.
5. Who do you think paid for this? Sid didn't have any money!Sid didn't have any money because he scrimped and saved his entire life to send the funeral director's daughter to Harvard.
No, I'll be cautious of these conversation starters as I pay my ex-mother-in-law my respects. I'll gently kiss the cheeks of ex-brothers-in-law who probably stopped drinking just long enough to make it to the funeral home. And I'll make nice with all the folks who still think I'm my ex-husband's wife....although I've been happily remarried for 19 years. And I promise not to balk when the faux pas of funeral reception faux pas takes place....when Great Aunt Gladys packs up a week's worth of leftovers in the ziplock baggie she has stashed in her giant carpet bag. I swear. I'll stay perfectly silent!