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Dept. of It's A Long Day

When Do You Want the Burial? Before or After the Service?

Which is a question one gets to answer in these situations, apparently. (We settled on "after", by the way.) So yes, life is still surreal.

Also surreal; my brother's and my different memories of one particular aspect of our mother's past. Because of those differences, he had a problem with one section of my eulogy. Because he asked rather than ordered, I changed some sentences in what I wrote, maintaining the core of the message I wanted to give, while eliminating something with which he was uncomfortable. In the privacy of my room, I started to cry and I had to break down the reasons for that before I let it get out of hand. Was I crying because our memories differed? Because in my mind, he wasn't letting me keep the memories I had, or didn't respect them? Because they were wrong? Was I that selfish? Was I that mistaken?

After going back over my memories and comparing them to what my brother said I realized that neither of us were actually mistaken. I just had some information he didn't, and he had some information I didn't. Those memories slotted in to slightly different points in time during the same extended event. And yes, perhaps it's a little sad and petty that I relaxed only once I realized that I wasn't wrong about what I remember of my mother, that I didn't misremember the conversations my mother and I had ... but not all that sad, nor all that petty. It was simply that I was glad that my mother hadn't misremembered her own past when she'd talked to both of us at different times. I'd simply been reminded that truth is often more complicated than we like it to be. I can live with that.

Tomorrow is visitation at the funeral home - not viewing, since she was cremated yesterday or today. Friday morning is the funeral. I'll be wearing the same outfit to both, but I suspect Mum will forgive my lack of sartorial diversity.
This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/273767.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 31st, 2013 03:22 am (UTC)
*hugs* I'm glad you were right. :) And I hope you all get to share lots of memories of your mother. *hugs*
Oct. 31st, 2013 12:57 pm (UTC)
The memories Mum will be in full sway tonight, at the visitation, and I hope to gather new ones from some of the people who knew her.
Oct. 31st, 2013 10:46 am (UTC)
Truth and memory are so subjective; and it wasn't petty at all for your memories of your mother to be important to you, and for it to be important that they weren't "untrue" or in some way invalid.

Thinking about many conversations between myself and my parents and siblings at different times, there can certainly be differing versions/recollections of events or situations none of which are false - we all internalise our own interpretations. And those interpretations become part of who we are, so it's entirely understandable that we feel very threatened if they're challenged.

Thinking of you today and tomorrow, and hoping that both visitation and funeral are ultimately helpful...
Oct. 31st, 2013 01:00 pm (UTC)
And those interpretations become part of who we are, so it's entirely understandable that we feel very threatened if they're challenged.


That's what I realized, and that's the other, better reason I calmed down, in addition to checking my memories and realizing they didn't conflict with my brother's.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Oct. 31st, 2013 11:39 am (UTC)
The fact that you have this much insight and perspective at this particular time speaks mountain ranges of good about you. Yep, truth is so often more complicated than we like it to be.

Going back to your subject line, yes, "I'll take options that never would have occurred to me for $2,000, Alex." The notion of burying someone before the service is even more surreal than stopping between the service and the burial for lunch in the church basement felt at the funeral for Barb Jensen's father.

Another surreal funeral memory: as I was driving out of the cemetery after Susan Palermo's burial, I passed a floral arrangement on a flatbed trailer being towed to a burial that was about to take place. Now, I've never seen a funeral floral arrangement large enough to need a flatbed trailer, but that wasn't the surreal part. The "arrangement" was a gigantic slot machine made of flowers. It was at least 8 feet tall, and probably 10 feet or taller. It looked more like it belonged in a parade for a bowl game being played in Las Vegas.

My heart is with you, dear. Each and every moment, through each and every long day.
Oct. 31st, 2013 01:04 pm (UTC)
The notion of burying someone before the service is even more surreal than stopping between the service and the burial for lunch in the church basement felt at the funeral for Barb Jensen's father.

As Barry The Minister explained it, many people want to have the emotional, family-or-close-friends-only part, the interment, first off, and then they can relax and celebrate their relative's life at what effectively becomes a memorial.

As it happens, we're going for funeral-short reception-interment, which is apparently the most common way to do it around here. The thinking is that people who want to have a bit of fellowship with you after the official ceremony can do so, then can leave the church when you do, but go home if they want to, rather than going to the burial. They don't have to wait around for the burial to have the reception.

Ah, humanity; we set up all kinds of strange protocols, but when you examine many of them closely, you realize that they start from reasonable assumptions.

Thank you so much for your thoughts, and the tremendous support they give me, my dear.
Oct. 31st, 2013 02:07 pm (UTC)
Funeral-short reception-interment has much in its favor in terms of logistics. It's the dual role of "primary mourner" and "host" that continually bends my mind. Especially on the day of the funeral itself. Jack certainly felt it at Duke's visitation. As the only direct family member, he felt guilty taking even a small break with friends out on the funeral home porch.

In some bizarre way, I am comforted to know that it's not just the Lutherans who stop for lunch before going to the cemetery. It struck me as such an iconically "Minnesota Lutheran" action the one time I've previously encountered it. It's reassuring to know Canadian Baptists also do it. And others, no doubt.

Oh, my. My brother was "Barry The Minister," too!

You're entirely welcome, of course. Yay for all of the tremendous support beaming your way via the electrons connecting us all!
Oct. 31st, 2013 03:14 pm (UTC)
I think Minnesota Lutherans are very, very close to Northern Baptists. Heh.

I realized only after I hit that last post that your brother's name was Barry.
Oct. 31st, 2013 10:04 pm (UTC)
continued ::hugs:: and good thoughts
Nov. 1st, 2013 02:02 am (UTC)
I have been reminded daily since Mum died of how important it is to get those hugs. Thanks so much!
Nov. 1st, 2013 12:51 am (UTC)
We all, very much including yourself, know it, but it may not have been explicitly stated:
Circumstances have awarded you a regal-sized allotment of Slack. Cut yourself all you need. Whenever you need. It has a terrific shelf life, and will still be available later. Aside from your being completely entitled, without let or hinderance, you have earned it with your handling of the final decline over the last several seasons.

My own approach to weddings and funerals is that they are for the guests, not the guests of honor. Please resist any impulses to, say, filet a guest with a Bowie knife, and you're good.
Nov. 1st, 2013 02:05 am (UTC)
One of the nice things about being exhausted - and this whole thing has kept me exhaustively exhausted - is that one no longer really has the ability to get too upset about too much for too long.

And no desire to filet anyone yet. Heh.
Nov. 1st, 2013 09:30 am (UTC)
*hugs you close* What an odd thing to ask...but at the same time, understandable, I guess. In case there are people who want to skip the service? I dunno...

I'm glad that your memories aren't incorrect - that they just differ in some ways from your brother's. I think that always happens with siblings to some extent. Not a bad thing - but it can make reconciling a few facts about a loved one difficult...


Your Mum would have been amused, I think. Plus - the idea is practical. Why have two suits/outfits for what is essentially one function? Not practical.

*Sends love*
Nov. 2nd, 2013 01:49 am (UTC)
I wanted to get back to you sooner than this, but you know, funeral. It was a great, amazing, absolutely exhausting day. And boy, am I tired of using the word exhausted. *rimshot*

As for the outfit, I did manage to switch the tops. Heh.
Nov. 4th, 2013 02:33 am (UTC)
In my part of the world, that IS two outfits, lol!!

Good one, there. *Grins* Play on words is awesome as always...
Nov. 4th, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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