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July 27, 2008

Posted by Michelle, with dignity in death, life.
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I remember being taken out of school early because my great-grandmother had died when I was in the 7th grade. I remember leaving school, going home to change into fancy clothes, and driving the 2 hours to Jacksonville, Alabama for the visitation.
I had never been to a funeral before, or a visitation, I just knew that Grandmother had died. I remember walking into the funeral home, and following my parents into this room where people were lined up to talk to Grandad and some other family members. The line was slow, and as we slowly moved toward the front of the line, I noticed a box. Didn’t know what the box was for, because I’d never been to a funeral. Suddenly we were upon the box, and inside the box was the deceased body of Grandmother, right there. I had no warning, no prior knowledge, no prep time. There I was, in front of the dead body.
And scarred.

So, this week has been rough. My mother’s father died, and so of course there are visitations and funerals to attend. The celebration of a life is cathartic, therapeutic. The time set aside for friends and family to show their love and support for those who are no longer with us is special.

But for me, the laying out of the deceased for me to view is disturbing. I know that some people need to see that person in the casket for it to be “real” for them. I know that some get a feeling of relief knowing they are resting peacefully etc. But there is something messed up about dead bodies on display to me.

That is definitely not the last memory I want of Papa.

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Comments»

1. lilypadiddle - July 30, 2008

My last memory – even though I am one of those that has to take a look, has to reconcile my own feelings by saying goodbye in my own way – my last real memories are of Papa in his chair or on the swing. Christmas was the last time I saw him, and I will still remember him alive. I really like what you said though about how therapeutic it is to set time aside with family to celebrate life and mourn a loss. I think we all came out of this last weekend with the same feeling.


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