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Old 04-06-2016, 05:29 AM
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This thread brought to mind a terrific story by Will Weaver - Gravestone Made of Wheat.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:54 AM
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No need to get defensive, OP. Everyone's got different approaches to death and ways of coping.

Personally, I think making such specific requests about what happens after you die is a bit control freak. Funerals are for the living, not the deceased. I'm an atheist - all I want is to be cremated (or maybe one of those tree root burials - most environmentally responsible) and that any public memorials not be religious in nature. If my mother wants to have a private Catholic funeral or whatever, that's fine by me. I won't care - I'll be dead. But I don't want my beliefs to be misrepresented to the wider world or my friends to be faced with the prospect of attending a religious service that neither I nor they would identify with. Beyond that, my loved ones can do whatever they want.

Once my parents die, my two best friends would be responsible for any post-death memorials. I trust them to do what's best for my remaining loved ones while being honest about who I was.

OP, what I would do if I were you would be to hold a lunch or dinner at your house or at a decent restaurant or hall. Prepare a scrapbook of your best memories of your mother and set out a notebook where guests can write down their best memories of her. Invite the people who were nearest and dearest to you and her. It would not be a traditional memorial service - it would be a gathering for the living, designed to help them share their pain and remember your mother.

I'm assuming your mother's main objection to memorialization was the public spectacle, the false sentiments expressed so often, the people showing up out of duty rather than desire share in public grief, the wearing of dark clothes to symbolize mourning, etc. So arrange a quiet and simple gathering where people can share and support each other. Maybe an open house - just put out some cold cuts and rolls, and ask people to come by.

My best friend and her mother died six months apart. There were no viewings or funerals. Memorials were held a couple of months after they died - we shared stories and grieved and laughed. There were a lot of people, but the ones who showed up were people who really knew and deeply loved the deceased. Sometimes a traditional funeral isn't necessary to let someone go and process their passing. Create your own tradition that will honor mother and the person she was, and that will provide you with solace.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by gouligann View Post
Things are changing and I think for the better! Funeral homes make thousands of dollars on funerals.

It used to be that people had to host big fancy funerals with flowers,coffee and snacks in a lunch room, expensive open caskets. As they were in the early stages of their grief the family had to stand for hours at the funeral home greeting friends and relatives.

It seems that more and more people are opting out of this practice for cremations with no funeral service.
I am glad to see the increasing trend away away from traditional funerals, which seem to have become quite a production in many cases. A friend once wrote to me about a funeral she had attended, saying "it was a 'good' funeral".. What makes a "good" funeral? Is it the number of attendees, the quality of the slide show or number of photographs exhibited, the number of people who stand up to speak, the amount and quality of food at the luncheon following the service? I have heard all of these things critiqued following some of the funerals I have attended.

While I understand that working on the details of a funeral might provide a distraction during the first hours of mourning, I would think that would create tremendous pressure on the family and loved ones----to come up with a service considered worthy of the deceased.

I guess there will always be a conflict between those feeling that "funerals are for the living" and those, such as me who feel that one should honor the dead in the way that he/she would want--- as a last act of loving kindness.

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Old 04-06-2016, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Nefret View Post

I guess there will always be a conflict between those feeling that "funerals are for the living" and those, such as me who feel that one should honor the dead in the way that he/she would want--- as a last act of loving kindness.

Doesn't have to be a conflict. You can honor the dead as a last act of loving any way you want.

If you don't want to show up at the funeral, wake, celebration of life or whatever, then don't.

If Mama says she doesn't want a funeral, that sort of takes the burden off if no one wants to plan or pay for it.

But if someone does, what's the harm? Mama's gone. Is she going to roll over in her grave? Curse you from the beyond?

My guess is that once people are dead, their spirits have bigger fish to fry than what their friends and relatives are up to.
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:58 PM
Location: Central IL
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In one regard, once you're dead you no longer call the shots...some people do try to be controlling even from the grave!

In the end, people do what they want. Do you honestly think that if the deceased says "no funeral" that SOMEONE won't have everyone over to their house for a wake-like gathering? Is THAT being disrespectful? It's not technically a funeral, right? And if someone wants a big funeral and it's already paid for people can either attend or not - might only be 2 people there for some outlandish affair they paid for. We all have to know when to let things go.
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:52 AM
Location: Columbia SC
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Originally Posted by johngolf View Post
My wife and I donated our bodies to the Univ. of SC, School of Medicine. They remove the remains within 24 hours of death. There is no cost involved. They have a once a year Memorial Service for those that have done so. They also have a Memorial Garden/Plaza which one can visit. What the family does to honor the person is up to the family.

The yearly non-denominational Memorial Service is this coming Friday, at 5pm.

The Memorial Service was wonderful. Very tastefully done. Musical presentations and short speeches that were full of thanks and gratitude from faculty, staff, and students. The key expression was those that donated had given the gift of life to others.

About 150 people had chosen to donate their body in the last year. There names were read off. If someone stood representing them, they were given a card and a flower.

Touching and thoughtful. Made one feel proud of what the deceased had done and are doing. Their life goes on in other ways.
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:07 AM
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Nicely done johngolf
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Old 04-10-2016, 08:20 AM
Status: " ." (set 3 days ago)
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I hope the grave site ceremony will help you heal. I found that to be more connecting then the funeral home sanctuary.
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Old 04-10-2016, 08:40 AM
Location: Idaho
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I have gone to too many funeral in my long life, and somewhere around the age of 50, I stopped. From then on, I might go to the grave site or the place the ashes were thrown out, but never to the funeral home.

That is also when I decided and made it VERY well known that there would BE NO FUNERAL FOR ME. I do not want people standing over me and remarking how great I look (I"m dead, I probably don't look too good), or the more truthful ones saying, "finally."

Put me in a cardboard box, run me through the furnace and take my ashes and spread them out where I requested.
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Old 04-10-2016, 10:17 AM
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
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Originally Posted by BensMomma View Post
Gee. I somehow don't share your laissez faire attitudes about death. My mother's loving arms are reduced to ashes. I feel no need to throw a cocktail party to mark the occasion of her incineration....and will impose no such trite requests upon my loved ones after I die.
I know you are grieving but that's pretty disrespectful. It's not laissez faire or trite if that's what the deceased wanted.
I too will opt for a celebration of my life instead rather than a gathering for grief. I know that my loved ones will be sad and I want to remind them that I view death as simply another stage of life.
I think part of the issue is that people don't really talk about these things. I can see that it would be difficult to deal with finding out that your loved one's wishes were very different than what you may have expected or wanted.
As for me I have had these discussions with my kids. I know what their wishes are if they unexpectedly die. They have been told what I would like to happen when I die, right on down to the poem I want read and the songs I want played at my wake. They know that I accept death as a part of life, so I hope they won't be upset by the way I want my death celebrated.
"And when I die
and when I'm gone
there'll be one child born in this world
to carry on."- Blood, Sweat & Tears
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