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Re: Thoughts for ships

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:29 pm UTC
by Zohar
Funerals are very weird occasions - there's always this tension about feeling sad but also glad to see friends and family you haven't been in touch with in awhile. I also find religious ceremonies unnerving, especially at a funeral. For a wedding they can still be strange, but in a funeral there's this common belief by a group of people about what ended up with the deceased that's very hard for me to share in.

Re: Thoughts for ships

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:43 pm UTC
by pogrmman
Zohar wrote:Funerals are very weird occasions - there's always this tension about feeling sad but also glad to see friends and family you haven't been in touch with in awhile. I also find religious ceremonies unnerving, especially at a funeral. For a wedding they can still be strange, but in a funeral there's this common belief by a group of people about what ended up with the deceased that's very hard for me to share in.


They really are strange. I've been to a few funerals and while most religious services aren't too unnerving for me (product of Christian schooling) (they are still weird though), funerals really are just because of the common belief of everybody else brought so prominently to the forefront (especially because all the funerals I've been to have been those of very devout churchgoers). I've felt really bad at all the funerals I've been to, but that particular component feels really weird to me. Even more so than the tension between feeling sad for the deceased and seeing family and friends you haven't seen in forever.

Re: Thoughts for ships

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:00 pm UTC
by Zohar
I don't mind the ceremony - I think it's healthy to have an organized way to deal with these things. It's one of the aspects I appreciate about Jewish mourning - it kind of gives you a plan on what you have to do in the first week (and month, and year) of the death of a loved one, so you don't have to figure things out. It's easier when there's a blueprint. It's more the involvement of god that I feel uncomfortable with. In the end, I think as long as it's respectful to the dead person's wishes, it's OK.

Re: Thoughts for ships

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:17 pm UTC
by HES
Zohar wrote:I also find religious ceremonies unnerving, especially at a funeral.

My Grandad's funeral earlier this year, my first time in a church in over a decade, was the most uncomfortable hour of my life.

Immediately afterwards, however, was a wonderful family gathering.

Re: Thoughts for ships

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:28 pm UTC
by ObsessoMom
I am a cantor (basically, soloist/songleader) at a lot of funerals at my church, and I've attended many funerals and memorial services in other faith traditions, too. None for my atheist friends yet.

The most positively-memorable funeral I've cantored was two months ago. Before the ceremony, the widow had gone around distributing the deceased's famous collection of garish Christmas-themed neckties to the pallbearers, and also to anyone else (male or female) who knew him well and wanted to wear one in his honor. When I looked out at the congregation, I saw a whole blizzard of snowmen and Santas and strings of colored lights. In July.

The friend who gave the eulogy said that wearing these festive neckties wasn't denial. It was acknowledgment of the fact that Jesse had absolutely loved Christmas, and that Christmas isn't going to be the same without Jesse's enthusiastic celebration of it...but now his friends will be taking up that mantle. Or, rather, taking up that necktie. AWESOME. Everyone was smiling through tears.

Re: Thoughts for ships

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:51 pm UTC
by ivnja
That idea with the ties is so wonderful, and I love this part:
It was acknowledgment of the fact that Jesse had absolutely loved Christmas, and that Christmas isn't going to be the same without Jesse's enthusiastic celebration of it...but now his friends will be taking up that mantle.


The two most recent funerals I've attended (both grandparents on my Dad's side) were simple affairs, one at graveside and one in a funeral home, with a few religious elements but nothing that would constitute a religious service as such. Perhaps spiritual elements would even be a better term. There were family eulogies and both laughs and tears, and it made me feel like the spirit of the departed was really in the room sharing that time together with all of us. Not long before the first of those, though, I attended a Catholic service for an old family friend, which was a full funeral Mass; as a non-Catholic, that was a very different experience, and while I can see how the ritual would be really comforting to folks who are familiar with it I was continuously having to glance around to see what I was supposed to be doing, and it felt that the funeral wasn't really about her, but rather about God. It was very stiff and formal, and not being from that background, I didn't get all that much comfort from it.

Re: Thoughts for ships

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:15 pm UTC
by Liri
I went to a catholic funeral when I was eight. One of my classmates, a Guatemalan boy who came to the U.S. for treatment, died of leukemia. The church was packed.

Every other funeral I've been to has been very southern baptist, which doesn't overburden me with good feelings. My dad's dad's was pretty good though. One of my actor cousin-in-laws read a secular poem and there was some secular music. The pastor, however, kept making cultural and political allusions (I'll save that for another sermon).

Re: Thoughts for ships

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:03 pm UTC
by e^iπ+1=0
Y'know, I don't think I've ever been to a funeral. My grandparents are definitely getting up there, though, so I'd be unsurprised if I wound up going to one in the not too distant.

Re: Thoughts for ships

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:59 pm UTC
by doogly
I found the religious aspect of my grandmother's funeral deeply upsetting. I was religious and can make a very nice performance of respect generally, but if it's someone who is actually close to me that I am personally mourning, I am pretty liable to slap someone who is coming at me with "she's in a better place." Though I did not in fact slap anyone!

Re: Thoughts for ships

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:53 pm UTC
by Zamfir
The strangest funeral I went to, was my wife's grandfather, lets call him John.

John was not very religious, but he had been a conservative pillar of the local catholic community. Head of the financial board, of the church charity, etc.

John was a stubborn guy, and his funeral plan was simple: Like My Wife's Funeral. The caterer had to go back to an old menu, because those sandwiches had been Good, and John would have the same again.

Now, sandwiches are doable. The real snag: at the time of his wife's death, there had been no pastor, and the mass had been lead by a layman. There is some exception procedure for this. More exactly, it had been a laywoman. Who was also a prominent activist to give women are larger priestly role in the church. Let's call her Susan.

In the years since, Susan had been officially excommunicated. Like Henry VIII or something. This apparently happens. It involves bishops and cardinals and the works. The church was surely not allowing her to lead a funeral mass, before hell freezes over.

I doubt that John cared much about women's role in the church. But as I said, stubborn. And the local church community was hardly going to deny the last wishes of such a prominent member.

Instead, the church board allowed the church building to be hired for a private event, which was definitely not a funeral or a mass. It just happened to involve a dead body and an altar. Susan gave not-a-mass, aided by some similarly activist women.


Towards the end of the event, there was an invitation for speakers from the room. The current pastor,an outsider, came forward. He gave a hurried speech that was like a miniature mass-within-a-mass. Still no bread and wine , of course. I don't know what his plan was. Perhaps he felt that he couldn't ignore the situation, but had no clue what else to do.

Re: Thoughts for ships

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:29 am UTC
by pogrmman
doogly wrote:I found the religious aspect of my grandmother's funeral deeply upsetting. I was religious and can make a very nice performance of respect generally, but if it's someone who is actually close to me that I am personally mourning, I am pretty liable to slap someone who is coming at me with "she's in a better place."


That's another reason I've been unsettled by the religious aspect of all of the ones I've been two. For my grandmother's funeral and those of my two great-grandparents, this killed me about it.

It just seemed wrong to be saying stuff like that. I get why it would help some people cope with it, but it just seems to be kind of uncaring about those who are mourning. Sure, I was only still religious in one of those funerals (the earliest, that of my great-grandfather like 10 years ago). But even then, it struck me as insensitive.

Re: Thoughts for ships

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:51 am UTC
by Liri
pogrmman wrote:It just seemed wrong to be saying stuff like that. I get why it would help some people cope with it, but it just seems to be kind of uncaring about those who are mourning.

Where my relatives live in the North Carolina, the basic assumption is that you are deeply religious. I've got at least three southern baptist pastors within pretty close relation to me (cousin/uncle/grandparent-tier).

Where I live in North Carolina, the basic assumption is that you're a pagan free-lovin hippy.