Friday, November 16, 2012

Funeral

I did a funeral yesterday. I know this may sound bad, but it was actually "nice" one. Meaning - it was for someone who was nice, who was a very devout Christian, who really loved God, the church, and was a joy to be around; and the family were all fairly relieved at her passing because she'd had some health struggles the last couple years of her life. And, you know, it's one of those where, if this person isn't in heaven celebrating right now, then I don't know that any of us have a chance. It also helped that she was a part of our church, and the funeral and burial were local.

So I prepared the service here and there on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I set up tables and chairs in the basement because we served a funeral dinner for the family after the service. Which I always think is nice, especially in this case where she had family here from all over the country, so it gave them a place where they could all get together and hang around and reminisce and take pictures and things.

The funeral was at 10:30 am. It lasted a half hour exactly. It took quite a while for the family to disperse afterward though, but we finally got things ready to go to the cemetery, drove the few blocks to it (I rode with the funeral director), and the committal service only lasted maybe 5 minutes. As I was leaving the cemetery the noon whistle went off. So it was 1 1/2 hours total. Then I went back to the church and waited for people to arrive for the dinner.

There was a nice crowd, but not as many as were expected maybe. I ate way too much. Once they were done the family kind of all moved upstairs so we started cleaning up the basement. I put away the salt and pepper shakers, creamers and sugar things on the tables, took off the table cloths, and then started putting tables and chairs away. I was glad everyone just let me do it. It's always a tough thing, because people like to help put tables and chairs away, but they tend to just "throw" the chairs in the closet. There's actually a certain way I like them put away, and a certain way I like the tables to go. They look better and it makes it easier to get to them the next time. I usually end up redoing it even if someone else does it, so even though it's not a big deal, it was just nice to do it once and not have to redo it later. I know I don't need to, but it's just one of those quirks I have. So, anyway, I put those away and vacuumed the entire basement. I got done around 3:30 pm. Then did some office work and got home around 5 pm.

It was odd, because I hadn't done a funeral in a couple of years anyway. But the first one I ever did - right after we moved here - was in the same place as I did the one yesterday. And it was a family member of the woman whose funeral I did yesterday. And the father of the boy who was my first funeral actually spoke at the funeral yesterday. He was this lady's nephew. So... it was kind of a weird feeling. I was sitting behind him when he was speaking, and it just really made me feel proud to hear him speak the way he was, because he wasn't involved in church at all at the time of his son's death. He's come quite a long way in the 13 years since then. So... you just never know. It was also odd thinking that my first funeral was at that location, and it's possible my last one could be there too. Weird.

Another interesting thing... I rode to the cemetery with the funeral director. He is a young guy - about my daughter's age. A really super nice guy. He said that when he went to school to be an undertaker there were 40 people that started out in his class, and only 7 of them finished. He said a lot of people think they can handle it... but find out later that they can't. Yeah, I could not. I have often thought about working at a funeral home - though not as an undertaker. I would much rather do the other parts of it (not having to do with the dead body). Which is kind of weird in itself, because even though this was an easy funeral (as far as funerals go), I still have trouble when it comes to talking with the family members. I know some of them were probably thinking I wasn't very personable. Well, they're right. I had no problem speaking to the group, but I just don't know what to say afterward. So I didn't say much. It was nothing against them... I guess it's just the way I am. Some of them came up and spoke to me, and I appreciated that. I forced myself to speak to a few of them. But I always feel like it has to look and seem really forced when I do it, so I just try to make myself available. I know it's one of my weaknesses, but it is what it is.

So... that was that. A nice day. I actually wore a necktie and dress clothes the entire day. Although, I forgot, when I got ready to go to the visitation Wednesday night, I finally admitted that my only pair of black pants are waaaay too big. So I wore something else. Then I went to Walmart and bought some cheapo pants just to have something to wear for the funeral. I don't have a suit that fits me, so I wore my new (unwashed) Walmart pants, an old white shirt of that my dad gave me years ago, an old necktie that my dad gave me years ago, and a sport coat that I just got at the GAP when we went to Michigan City. It's much more of a casual jacket, but it was all I had. It didn't look terrible, but I should probably get a suit that fits me. Then... to top things off... I never did take my Columbia jacket back, and I didn't have anything to wear over my sport coat. So I took the tags off the Columbia coat and wore it. Darnit. I was going to take it back and either not get anything, or get a wool coat. I would still prefer a wool coat. And a new dark gray suit. But... maybe I won't have a funeral for another 2 years and by then I'll probably be back in my bigger clothes. We'll see.

Another day...