Re: And then what?

1

Oh, that sounds horrible. Leave the poor aunt alone!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 7:15 PM
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He was the worst! The first half - family reading things they'd written, slide show, was super touching and sad and lovely. The second half was jarring and horrifying. I think it was nonsensically babbletastic enough that Hawaii couldn't have really followed much of what he was saying.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 7:19 PM
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Argh.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 7:19 PM
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And then?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 7:35 PM
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That's terrible. Also, in my experience, not all that unusual. I recently went to a funeral where the imam hit wrong note after wrong note, and then went on way too long at the graveside service. At a service for my grandmother, many years ago, the dude actually solicited donations. Unless he knew the deceased well, the religious figure at a funeral should think of himself as Holy MC, and provide a bit of ceremony and keep things moving along.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 7:36 PM
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Unless he knew the deceased well, the religious figure at a funeral should think of himself as Holy MC, and provide a bit of ceremony and keep things moving along.

Seriously.

I guess that at least in many denominations/sects/etc, attitudes that would allow one to recognize this fact and the calling for that line of work don't tend to co-occur so much.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 7:40 PM
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So much babble on how we're all sinners and deserving of hell. And the only reason one might not have let Christ into their heart is that they think they're free from sin. All those non-Christians who haven't chosen Christ are doing so because they think they're perfect as is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 7:45 PM
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It had the paradoxically helpful effect of helping me regain my composure, though, since I was messily weepy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 7:46 PM
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Christ, what an ashhole.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 7:46 PM
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(As in, I felt a bit too weepy for not-my-tragedy. I don't want to be the object of support; I want to be supporting others. But I'm super unable to control my tears and felt sad for the sons and siblings and mother.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 7:57 PM
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OUR NEXT ROASTER WILL BE ROASTING IN HELL SOON ENOUGH, BUT FIRST HE'S GOT SOME WORDS FOR THE MAN OF THE HOUR: THOSE WORDS ARE TAKEN FROM ROMANS, CHAPTER ONE....


Posted by: Opinionated Holy MC | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 8:06 PM
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Seriously. Every pro knows that it's at weddings that you bring out the fire and brimstone. Those bridesmaids are painted up like trollops and I am sure the groomsmen have been drinking! Oh, don't give me that look, Louise--everyone knows about your "medicine" in the pantry.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 8:10 PM
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I guess maybe they people whose funerals I've attended have been lucky as far as drawing a good priest. Or maybe it's because they all know lots of priests and have picked one out ahead of time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 8:12 PM
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This is how to mark a death.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 8:13 PM
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14: Boy, they sure don't make aristocrats like they used to.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 8:18 PM
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13: It helps if the deceased actually went to church and knew the priest personally.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 8:19 PM
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(Not that I know that wasn't the case in the situation heebie's describing, but it seems like a common pattern IME.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 8:20 PM
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Also, once you get up there, always have a nice suit in the back of the closet. Don't worry if the pants are hemmed right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 8:21 PM
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It sounds like she met and got to know this guy in the last 4-5 months before she died.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 8:22 PM
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That's terrible. Also, in my experience, not all that unusual.

Yep. I've been to a fair number of funerals like that.

Also, although it seems like very few people like to hear this kind of sermon, there is something consistent about it. If you genuinely believe that everyone in the room will suffer eternal torment unless they go through a particular ritual, then of course you're going to take the moment when they're most aware of their mortality to twist their arm about doing the ritual. Just because it's a factually incorrect belief doesn't make it insincere, and the preacher probably figures that being an asshole in the service of rescuing people from hell is justified.

What I find slightly confusing are people like the preacher at my parents' church now, who will claim to have the same set of beliefs about hell and salvation and whatnot but won't harangue people about it. It seems to suggest less than complete confidence about the concepts.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 8:41 PM
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And then?

(Am I explicit-making or is this not the immediate a association one makes?)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 8:48 PM
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Und dann...


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 9:15 PM
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I made the association in 4.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 9:19 PM
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24

My six-year-old daughter, in church during my mother's funeral: "Why is he talking about Jesus so much? Shouldn't he be talking about grandma?"


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 9:37 PM
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Why the fuck people keep inviting clergy of any kind to funerals is beyond me. My express wishes are to be cremated and some money from my life insurance is to be used for a nice party with good food and booze and to raffle off some stuff.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 9:40 PM
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For my dad's funeral instead of any sort of clergy we had a former professor of his who is also active in one of the local Jewish groups run the service. It was quite nice.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 9:43 PM
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I mean, come on. Funerals shouldn't be so godamn tedious. You should know that if you show up you'll get good food, alcohol, and a shot at winning a shotgun, a waverunner, or a two man kayak.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 9:46 PM
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25, 27: I don't want to give anybody incentives to hurry me along.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 9:48 PM
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gswift is all about the funerary potlatch.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 9:49 PM
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"If you promise not to pull the plug while I get my appendix removed, I'll give you food and alcohol after I wake up."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 9:50 PM
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The appendix removal thing isn't uncommon in the family tree but I'm 38 and it hasn't happened yet so it's probably not in the cards for me. But fuck yeah to drunken funeral giveaways and the menu is going to rule. I'm thinking roast lamb and bison along with a sushi bar.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 10:04 PM
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What denomination was the minister?

I've been to some mildly inappropriate funerals, but nothing like that. I don't think I've been to one where hell was mentioned, ever. I have been to some interesting Christmas sermons. The last Christmas I celebrated I went to a Catholic mass where the priests from Poland and Nigeria were having none of this secular humanism which was ruining the fabric of America and they weren't too impressed by people who just show up once a year on Christmas. I thought it was a bold move to call out 70% of the people in the pews.

The year before that I went to a bilingual Finnish-English Lutheran service, and while there were parts that were very nice, the theme of the sermon was Stalin's ethnic cleansing of the Ingrian Finns. The English part was bleak and the Finnish part was (apparently) bleaker still. He also read aloud excerpts of letters from the front written during the Winter War.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 10:41 PM
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"A funeral needs a church, a priest, music, flowers, and a catered venue. How is it that you can arrange one in three days but my wedding is taking ten months?" - a beleaguered friend of mine, out of earshot of his fiancee

And seriously, the OP is beyond the pale. Let the minister know that your aunt left $20k for discretionary charitable giving, and now its all going to go to the Negro College Fund.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-14 10:42 PM
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24 hits the spot. The business of the priest/preacher at a funeral is to commemorate the deceased and, if they must, to spin a story about ho the deceased's strong points exemplify how their deity of choice would have people be. When we were organising my uncle's funeral, the priest, who didn't know him from Adam, spent an hour with my sister and me making notes about the old guy so he could do that.

This is why I hate hate hate sola fide theology. If there is a hell, Paul of Tarsus is in the 10th circle.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 3:39 AM
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35

You get three days? The Jews have everything harder, don't they.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 4:08 AM
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My mom's funeral had a bit of the OP sort of thing. No mentions of hell, I don't think, but lots about how the important thing about my mom was that all through her illness, she knew where she needed to be... in the church pew on Sunday. Not that she really made a difference in lots of kids' lives, not that she mentored a couple of generations of new school teachers. Nope, it was that she managed to get herself out of bed on Sunday mornings. Also some bullshit talk about how it was an awesome party in Heaven now because my mom had just shown up.

It kind of rolled off of me, because I'm used to that kind of church talk, and also because it's probably what my mom would have wanted, but Tweety and another non-religious friend who was there both had serious WTF reactions.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 4:10 AM
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Non-religious meaning not having grown up with religion.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 4:11 AM
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Sorry for Jammies' (and the family's loss). The hell and brimstone funeral is definitely not familiar to me, but the "pile of ashes" sounds like the ashes-to-ashes, dust-to-dust line re-imagined poorly and without the poetry.

My aunt just sent the family details for an upcoming memorial service that tickles me:

My plan is for [the interment] to be quite short. What I would like each of you to do is send me a few short descriptive words or phrases about your father/grandfather. They can be abstract character qualities or a description of a specific event. I'd like you to send them to me, and I will compile a master list that will be read before we bury the ashes.
Then we will put the urn in the hole, and each put a little dirt on it. Then we will all go out to eat.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 4:57 AM
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No "and then what?" questions needed for 38.last as ydnew's aunt has it all covered!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 5:19 AM
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32: The Finnish part is always bleaker.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 5:46 AM
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I've never been to a funeral where hell was mentioned in the sermon, but this does remind me that the MC (a classmate of mine) at my high school reunion mentioned heil in his talk. The priest, who was waiting to speak next, looked a bit shocked.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 5:57 AM
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I've hear the pile of ashes before Jesus bit before.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 5:59 AM
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43

These days, mostly people use the Vincent Price part of Thriller.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:01 AM
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Also some bullshit talk about how it was an awesome party in Heaven now because my mom had just shown up.

I can't remember if I've ever been to a funeral that didn't have that line. And often something about how the deceased is currently in heaven playing golf (if on my dad's side of the family) or playing a banjo or fiddle or something (if on my mom's side of the family).


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:01 AM
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I should start dropping in on random funerals around here to get a sense of how it's done in places that aren't uniformly Southern Baptist.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:02 AM
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I have just been to the funeral of a colleague who died of an unsuspected brain tumour at 50. It was agonising, especially as it was held back in Leeds where he lived and therefore in the emotional geography of my childhood.

The (Catholic) priest was...unconvincing, not because of the choice of texts but because of his floppy delivery. Also, it turns out the Catholics have awful PowerPoint English versions of scripture too!

The really awful thing was the contrast between his icily controlled professor wife and his Manchester Irish mother, openly keening and barely coherent. Class wounds, etc. Also, I never imagined he'd be a member of what might have been the Malefactors of Great Wealth Golf Club.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:03 AM
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the theme of the sermon was Stalin's ethnic cleansing of the Ingrian Finns

Trying to cheer you up, I presume


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:05 AM
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What 34 said. At the most recent funeral I went to, not only didn't the minister mention hell, I'm pretty sure he didn't mention heaven either.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:06 AM
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Or banjos.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:07 AM
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45: You could join 38.2, which will be held fairly near you, but I think it's been accurately summarized.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:09 AM
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To my recollection, my grandfather the Episcopal minister's service was way less Jesus-y than Blume's mom's service.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:09 AM
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Not even exposed boobies are a more powerful testament to the godlessness of Europe than the comments in this thread.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:11 AM
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The most Jesus-y thing I've ever attended was a high school graduation for a nondenominational, evangelical Christian school in my hometown. The speaker hollered about Juh-aeeee-sus, and the audience shouted stuff like "Amen!" and "Preach it brother!" It sets the standard by which I now judge religious events. If Jesus has more than two syllables, it's over the top.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:49 AM
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Joshua has three syllables and it's basically the same name.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:51 AM
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Further endorsement of 34.

Last funeral I went to was for a month old baby. While l personally enjoyed the music selected by the minister, it turns out that the baby's parents had specifically indicated that they did not want music. You know who should get to call the shots at a dead baby's funeral? Mom and Dad should get to call the shots. I get that ministers want to use the occasion to reach people with a spiritual message the minister finds deeply meaningful.* But funerals are for the grieving; they are not about the minister's personal agenda.

My grandma's sister, diagnosed with a terminal illness, did not wait for a funeral. She threw a party before she went to celebrate life with her family and friends. I thought that was pretty cool. I suppose since we don't always get fair warning of death, this means we should throw parties celebrating life regularly, just to be safe. (When my gram died, we did absolutely nothing. Which kind of sucked.)

*I really have a hard time believing "you're going to hell, sinner!" is a "deeply meaningful" message to anyone rather than a smug opportunity to judge and bully. But I am super sensitive to meanness.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:52 AM
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Organizing my Dad's funeral was kind of funny. The tradition in Botswana is to throw a huge fucking party and have paid mourners who will ensure a proper level of wailing and weeping, along with a huge expensive coffin and the whole nine yards. It took a lot of convincing to get the funeral director to go along with a simple plywood box for a coffin and a ceremony consisting of only immediate family and friends. No paid mourners or anything. I think part of his reluctance was related to tradition and part to the fact that he saw a juicy commission evaporating before his eyes. The actual ceremony was perfect, with a preacher who knew my Dad very well, and only people who could really connect with the family present.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:01 AM
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I have been to lots and lots of funerals and even more "removals" (brief ceremony usually evening of day before, frequently attended by those who can't get off work for the funeral as well as those who are close enough to go to both). I think one of them maybe was Church of Ireland and all the rest Catholic. I have to say most of them have been well done and most priests have done an okay job. A few clangers or just tedious sermons but most of the crazy sermons I've heard or heard of have actually been at weddings.
After my father's funeral a lot of people said to us, "I know it sounds a bit funny but that was the nicest funeral I was ever at." Readings, music, eulogy, prayers - all just right, but my most abiding memory is actually the filling of the grave and some unspoken stuff that went on.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:01 AM
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Catholics are much better at the ceremony stuff.

paid mourners

Awesome.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:06 AM
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I read somewhere that paid mourners used to be a thing in Ireland.

So, is a removal just what we would call a wake, since there's no more sitting awake here?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:08 AM
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I went to my neighbor's funeral a couple of weeks ago. The one I mentioned here: http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_13816.html#1705977

He was Catholic and very devout. The priest knew him very well. The only off part was in the cemetery at the gravesite where some young woman working for the funeral home was handing out flowers and said something about conjuring up some significant memory you had of the deceased, whether he was your relative, friend or even enemy and then tossing the flower towards the coffin and thinking of that memory. The "enemy" part really grated. The whole thing was unnecessary, he was a Catholic - there was no lack of ritual for the grieving, the priest even went to the gravesite to perform some additional rituals. Let the church handle the ritual. It's the one thing they do well. It was an Irish funeral home and they should have known better.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:12 AM
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Actually, I think in my family we usually just call the service that happens the evening before the funeral the rosary.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:13 AM
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Paid mourners used to be a thing in ancient Greece, right? A proud part of the Western tradition?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:13 AM
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This sermon is so Southern Baptist! The knowing smirk! The condescension about poor fools who believe in life and reality and stuff! It's our *way*.

Southern Baptists also love to speechify on the topic of how we "just looove" this or that earthly thing, with weird specificity of detail, usually outdated. "We just looooove watchin' our football games! Eatin' our chips, maybe with a little ranch dip! We love listenin' to that Britney Spears record, the one right before she went to rehab, you know the one I mean! We just loooove thinkin' about which movie we're gonna see this weekend!" And then there's a turn, which is the moment "we" realize we're going to burn in hell or that Christ shed his blood for us, and then "we" are so sorry, Lord! But does he hear us? Maybe it's too late? Maybe we were DISTRACTED by all these earthly things?

Good Baptist sermons are actually really great, but you can tell who hasn't done their homework, because they can riff on this model every fucking week into eternity.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:13 AM
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Eatin' our chips, maybe with a little ranch dip!

I'll never understand the south. It's like they haven't even heard of french onion.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:16 AM
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The most Jesus-y thing I've ever attended was a high school graduation for a nondenominational, evangelical Christian school in my hometown. The speaker hollered about Juh-aeeee-sus, and the audience shouted stuff like "Amen!" and "Preach it brother!" It sets the standard by which I now judge religious events.

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.


Posted by: Opinionated Jesus | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:16 AM
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You get three days? The Jews have everything harder, don't they.

It's canonical that Christians don't really know how to count to three days. (And of course, funerals are easier than weddings since the principal is conveniently dead.)

mentioned heil in his talk. The priest, who was waiting to speak next, looked a bit shocked.

Yes, that ideology does tend to be frowned upon.

"removals" (brief ceremony usually evening of day before

The equivalent here is a "viewing", often with an open casket. I just attended one last night for the mother of a family friend. Mostly people swapping old stories.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:17 AM
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FTR, I mostly think stereotypes of Baptists are incorrect, condescending, and untrue. I'm really grateful for my Baptist education. But the sermon about how only fools care about reality? That's our central theological pillar going back to the 17th century, which is why Baptists were early advocates for the separation of church and state. It's just a theological pillar that lends itself to some pretty fucking offensive sermons.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:18 AM
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You mean FREEDOM onion?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:19 AM
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D'oh. Stupid phone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:19 AM
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69 to 66.somewhereinthemiddle


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:19 AM
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55
That is terrible.

My mother's church has a Native American service on Sunday afternoons, and after the Native American pastor died tragically young, my mother's then boyfriend, a retired minister, took over leading the service. When he died, he had a combination Native funeral and Church of Sweden high-church funeral. It started with a very stunning drum procession and chanting, with the practitioners in full regalia, and then segue-wayed into Bach on the pipe organ. It was grandiose and OTT but very beautiful and touching, a bit like he had been in real life. After the graveside service we went to his children's house and drank and played hymns.

I've been to too many funerals to count. Some of them get kind of tricky, when you have some sour 100 year old Norwegian woman who outlived all friends and close family and alienated anyone still alive. Saccharine euphemism isn't our style, but neither is one supposed to speak ill of the dead. There was one funeral where the anecdote (delivered by my grandfather) was that the person always knew exactly how much rope to use in any situation, or something along those lines.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:21 AM
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There's something slightly ghoulish about a viewing. I've never been to one, which is good, since I'd be tempted to poke the deceased.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:21 AM
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Or drop a pre-paid cell phone into the coffin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:26 AM
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Oh look, Wikipedia offers a BAPTISTS backronym!


Biblical authority (Mat 24:35; 1Pet 1:23; 2Tim 3:16-17)
Autonomy of the local church (Mat 18:15-17; 1Cor 6:1-3)
Priesthood of all believers (1Pet 2:5-9; 1Tim 5)
Two ordinances (believer's baptism and the Lord's Supper) (Acts 2:41-47; 1Cor 11:23-32)
Individual soul liberty (Rom 14:5-12)
Saved and Baptized church membership Act 2:41-47 1Cor 12:12 2Cor 6:14 Eph 4:3
Two offices of the church (pastor and deacon) (1Tim 3:1-13; Tit 1-2)
Separation of Church and State (Mat 22:15-22)


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:29 AM
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If you hold the tip of your tongue with your fingers and say "a pile of ash before Jesus" it sounds like "a pie love ass Bifur thesis".


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:31 AM
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The tradition in Botswana is to throw a huge fucking party and have paid mourners who will ensure a proper level of wailing and weeping, along with a huge expensive coffin and the whole nine yards

In Norman Lewis' Naples '44, there is a man who appears as a paid mourner in the opposite sense - while everyone else hurls themselves onto the coffin in floods of tears and pulls knives on each other, he shows up pretending to be the departed's uncle from Rome, who is painfully restrained and strait-laced among all the yelling.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:34 AM
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73: a smartphone, so that he could support people in email.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:35 AM
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Not even exposed boobies are a more powerful testament to the godlessness of Europe than the comments in this thread.

I want as many exposed boobies as possible at my funeral.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:40 AM
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"In lieu of flowers...."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:48 AM
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76: I was going to mention that! A great book.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:52 AM
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I want as many exposed boobies as possible at my funeral

A la The Meaning Of Life


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:00 AM
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I'd like people to tell Bill Brasky!-esque lies at my funeral: "Remember when he rescued the baby gorillas from the exploding zeppelin? That was great. Did you know he was on his way to Bayreuth to premiere his 'The Ring in 20 Minutes Or Your Money Back (No Dwarves)'? What about the time he ate the Moon for brunch? NASA was pissed, but they got over it."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:17 AM
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78. Simply Irresistible rather than Blurred Lines. Paid mourners, probably, unless my old age plays out pretty differently than I expect it will.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:27 AM
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You know, I was in Enlightened Topless Europe--Barcelona even--for a whole week and I saw exactly zero exposed boobies.

(I did, however, see the Sagrada Familia, which has a majesty boobies rarely attain.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:28 AM
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It's winter in the other hemisphere, so everybody is covered up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:29 AM
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Enlightened Topless London was a disappointment as well.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:31 AM
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87

There's something slightly ghoulish about a viewing. I've never been to one, which is good, since I'd be tempted to poke the deceased.

My mom's aunt did poke her. Aunt is probably in her 90s, or at least late 80s, and in a wheelchair. She pulled herself up out of the chair holding on to the side of the coffin, peered in, and poked my mom.

While the open casket was mostly awful, it was interesting to see my cousin's three kids, all under ten, encounter a dead body. They were super curious, but not sure they were allowed to be, or exactly how much or how long they could look, displaying what level of interest.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:31 AM
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I have been to lots and lots of funerals and even more "removals" (brief ceremony usually evening of day before, frequently attended by those who can't get off work for the funeral as well as those who are close enough to go to both).

My dad works for a funeral home. For them, a "removal" is when you go to the place someone died and get the body to bring it back for embalming or cremation.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:33 AM
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84: I was in Iceland a few weeks ago and saw boobies, but only in the shower for the pools. I thought of it as "enlightened topless Europe" the whole time I was there, though. It would be a lot more enlightened if it were less Islamophobic, though.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:35 AM
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I've hardly ever been to a funeral without a viewing (or, come to think, I guess that's just family funerals. People I'm not related to seem to be cremated more). Given my relatives, I think the underlying motivation is to be absolutely sure they're really dead.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:35 AM
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Right. The hat pin test.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:36 AM
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89: Is Islamophobia on prominent display there? Last time I was there was 1986 and my main memory is the smell of rotten eggs everywhere.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:41 AM
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I dunno. I've been to elaborate funerals and "Send me the autopsy report" and all sorts in between, and they don't have much impact. I mostly remember thinking that wearing black in the Florida sun isn't a good idea.

The moment of death does have impact tho'. They're really gone then, no magic will get them back. Even if one hears them in the kitchen late at night a few weeks later one doesn't go down to chat.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 8:43 AM
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89, 92. How disappointing.

I saw exposed boobies on the beach in Turkey on the Bodrum peninsula in the early 90s. Ergo, Turkey should be admitted to the EU forthwith.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:00 AM
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The tradition in Botswana is to throw a huge fucking party and have paid mourners who will ensure a proper level of wailing and weeping, along with a huge expensive coffin and the whole nine yards

I wish we had professional mourners where I live too: they would have made my grandmother's funeral a more pleasant experience. It's not that it was particularly bad, I mean, but that funerals always seem to be some combination of sitting around telling stories about the person, getting updated on how your relatives are doing, and being self conscious about whether you're acting sad enough or maybe acting too sad and overshadowing other people's sadness or acting up or whatever. Having someone whose job is to do the necessary 'it's so tragic that they're gone' and let everyone else focus on the other two bits seems like it would make things a lot easier on everyone involved except for the dead person, probably.

Also if you could hire professional mourners you could have them show up at all sorts of other events as well: family reunions at Thanksgiving; baby showers; bachelor parties; dissertation defenses; etc. It would just be a nice option to have handy, especially if you also had the option of praise singers.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:07 AM
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92: The one Icelander I've ever met was a vocal Islamophobe, and thought George Bush had things basically right. TBF though, this was in 2004, and at the time his opinions were largely indistinguishable from those of mainstream American news media.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:16 AM
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I'm totally with the huge fucking party bit. After my uncle's funeral (34) the mourners, there were only about a dozen of us because he'd outlived most of his friends, got completely legless on champagne and some of his former colleagues entertained us with stories about him that I won't repeat on a family blog. That, to me, is the way to see somebody off.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:18 AM
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95.2 sounds like a fantastic business opportunity. I hope MHPH will point us at the kickstarter.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:20 AM
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95.last: I think there's considerable overlap between professional mourners and professional praise singers. I think the job description is really "professional big event enhancement person." They do little mourning dances and so forth as well. Presumably these are different from the wedding and party ones. I wish I'd thought to have some praise singers at my dissertation defense. It would have made the whole thing a lot more tolerable.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:22 AM
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98: Some sort of franchise with certification and so forth would be ideal. Or an App. Must have a professional praise singing App of some sort. Flash mobs of praise singers. Something like Grindr or maybe Uber for ego boosting and party enhancement. World domination here we come!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:29 AM
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I'm sorry your uncle died at 34, but if he outlived most of his friends it seems like a pretty unhealthy cohort.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:34 AM
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Hi chris y: http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_13870.html#1712761

(In case you hadn't seen it)


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:35 AM
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101: Geez, making fun of a Great War veteran who died in 1928 now?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:41 AM
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Jesus Christ. I'd use the pause-play symbols but this is unfortunately entirely on-topic... I just got a call from my stepfather's wife. He had a heart attack last night and couldn't be revived. I'm just in shock right now.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:58 AM
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95, 98, 100: Surely this is in Taskrabbit's wheelhouse.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:58 AM
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"Viewing" is not in my idiolect. We always called it "visitation," and it usually lasts for about two full days before the funeral.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:02 AM
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104: That's terrible. Is this a stepfather who was a parent when you were growing up, or someone who married your mother later in your life?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:03 AM
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107: He and my mom met when I was 12 and were married together for about 10 years. After they got divorced I stayed in touch with him (I was the best man at his third wedding!). We'd grown apart a bit the past few years but still...


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:05 AM
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What 107 said. My sympathies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:05 AM
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I'm so sorry. That's a big part of your life.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:07 AM
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104, 108: I'm sorry.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:11 AM
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Oh Josh, I'm sorry. Horribly sudden.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:12 AM
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My condolences Josh, that's terrible.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:13 AM
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The really crazy thing about this is that he was scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday to repair a bad valve in his heart. Not that we expected anything to go wrong during the surgery, but we'd made plans to talk this Sunday one last time before he went in, just in case. When I got the call I figured it was him just checking in to say they'd bumped up the surgery or something like that.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:17 AM
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That's super sad (generally, of course), but also not getting to have the planned conversation. Sorry to hear that.


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:26 AM
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I'm so sorry, Josh.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:28 AM
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108: I remember some of your stories about him. I'm so sorry.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:29 AM
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Ugh. That's heartbreaking. So sorry.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:33 AM
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Damn. Very sorry, Josh.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:36 AM
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I'm sorry, Josh. A death of someone close to you is confusing and disorienting enough without having it be unexpected that way.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:45 AM
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Very, very sorry for your loss, Josh. xo


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:46 AM
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So sorry for your loss.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:49 AM
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What a shock, Josh. I'm so sorry.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:51 AM
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Oh no, how awful. I'm so sorry, Josh.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:52 AM
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My condolences, Josh.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 10:56 AM
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I'm sorry, Josh.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 11:06 AM
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Very sad, my sympathies.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 11:13 AM
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Ditto to 117. You've always made him sound like a great guy.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 11:16 AM
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Sorry Josh.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 11:19 AM
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So sorry for your loss, Josh.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 11:20 AM
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Deepest condolences, Josh.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 11:33 AM
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I'm very sorry to hear about your stepfather, Josh.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 11:35 AM
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Thanks everyone. I really appreciate it.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 11:40 AM
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Very sorry to hear that, Josh.

102. Saw it, thanks. Good luck. I have no advice to offer.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 11:49 AM
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To comment on some stuff above;
To us the wake is the night the person has just died. It's not really a wake unless it takes place in the house. People who die in hospital are often brought home to be waked. They are laid out -perhaps in an open coffin but more traditionally just on a bed. There is chat and reminiscing and tea and sandwiches and tears and whiskey. There are prayers and maybe songs. At midnight you say the rosary. Family will stay up - awake- with the body overnight.
(My father's mother died at 92 in a nursing home and they waked her in my aunt's house. He and a couple of his siblings were there during the small hours and the others were nodding off a bit. He tied his sister's shoe laces together and when she woke up and moved she didn't know what had happened at first, then couldn't stop laughing. (She is the sort of person who would love the joke not the sort who would
be bitterly wounded.))
The following evening is the removal - the Catholic term is the Removal of the Remains. The body (in coffin) is brought ceremonially to the church, after a final flurry of visitors sympathising and another rosary at the house. If the distance to the church is short the mourners will walk to the church behind the hearse. More people will be waiting at the church. There is a short service with a few readings. After that comes the long part, where people queue patiently to reach the top of the church and shake the hands of the family and murmur sympathies. You'd better switch any rings you're wearing on the right hand to the other hand or you'll regret it before a fraction of the queue have shaken your hand.
I went down lately to the removal of my old boss, a well known rural solicitor who died in his fifties of pancreatic cancer, and I queued for maybe an hour and a half. But that was a particularly big crowd.
The following day is the funeral mass and burial. (Also takes a long time but no need to describe.) Some dioceses won't allow eulogies in the Church which is unfair I think.
There will be food at or after all stages. There are variations eg no removal and a second night in the house which has kind of come into fashion.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 11:57 AM
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Josh -- so so sorry. Ugh.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 12:04 PM
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My condolences, Josh.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 12:16 PM
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Damn, Josh, I'm sorry.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 12:23 PM
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Very sorry Josh, what a sad shock.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 12:27 PM
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My father's mother died at 92 in a nursing home and they waked her in my aunt's house.

This could be the first sentence of a zombie novel.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 12:37 PM
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My sympathy, Josh. A huge shock.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 1:08 PM
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Oh, shit, Josh. My condolences.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 1:19 PM
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Condolences, Josh. Sudden is tough to deal with.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 1:20 PM
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The kind of thing described in the OP I first heard about in the context of the Dutch Reformed Church (about which all manner of nastiness is believable because of the apartheid connection) and then of Calvinist denominations generally. I've attended more funerals as a choir member than as a mourner, specifically singing Requiems, so the ceremony-to-sermonizing ratio is pretty high in my experience, and as emir said, most of the crazy sermons I know of have been at weddings.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 1:40 PM
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136 was I.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 1:52 PM
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Condolences, Josh. I'm so sorry.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 1:59 PM
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Josh, I'm so sorry. It's always tough when death comes so unexpectedly like that. You have my sympathies.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 2:50 PM
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I'm so sorry, josh. Is this the parent that lives here?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 4:25 PM
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148: no, that's my dad. My stepfather lived in DC. (Which meant I didn't get to see him often. At least we were able to get together when I was out there for decadecon last year.)

To pile on the ironies, this weekend was his and his wife's first anniversary. They had a number of friends coming into town for a party. At least now she'll have more people around to take care of her.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 4:56 PM
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Alav ha-shalom, Josh. I hope you can find your bearings, some time to grieve, and then some peace of your own.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 5:07 PM
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So sorry to hear this, Josh. I hope you'll let us know if there's any way we can be of help or support.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 5:31 PM
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My sympathies, Josh.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 5:42 PM
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So sorry, man.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:35 PM
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The original post reminds me of the one about the rabbi and the priest who are sitting around talking and the rabbi says, "you have any ambitions?" and the priest is like, "I have to admit, I think I could make a good monsignor," and the rabbi's all, "and then what?" "oh, I don't know, bishop," "and then what?" through archbishop, cardinal, eventually he says, "I suppose someone's got to be Pope -- not that I ever think I could -- " "and then what?" "Well, do you want me to become God himself?" and the rabbi says, "one of our boys made it."


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 6:38 PM
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I wish so bad I'd known that joke and could have gone up to him afterwards and said "I totally thought you were going somewhere else with that story!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:24 PM
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I think I heard that joke from a priest.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:27 PM
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So sorry Josh. That is hard.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:53 PM
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Thanks again, you guys.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 7:57 PM
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So sorry to hear about your loss, Josh.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 07-10-14 9:18 PM
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Oh, Josh, I'm sorry to hear that.

My mothers' parents were so against funerals, ceremonies in general, that their bodies got taken to the crematorium by one person each and the rest of us mostly mourned by going camping on separate solo trips. Then we got together to tell anecdotes while deciding which plant to put the ashes around. I'm a pretty solitary person, but this was a bit too much so.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 07-14-14 10:33 PM
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Thanks for sharing.


Posted by: Send Gift To Pakistan | Link to this comment | 12- 7-17 4:24 AM
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