My Crazy Funeral Hangups

Our family is working its way through our first funeral process in nine years. It’s the first one ever for me and my husband to be directly involved in as far as decision making.

And I say ME and my husband loosely.

I’m not making any decisions, just an occasional comment or observation for his consideration.

It’s not something at which we are professionals (thank goodness), and it’s not something that comes naturally, especially when MEN are in charge of creating a ceremony designed to both honor the departed according to their wishes for simplicity and allow those remaining to simultaneously release, celebrate, and grieve.¬†THESE men are very practical guys. Not much for ceremony. Their motto has been, “Keep it simple and short.” I actually love that about them, yet the sensor/feeler in me keeps flipping the paranoia switch over to the “what’s everyone else gonna think?” setting.

It’s a fine line….trying to be supportive, mind my own business, and keep my paranoid intuition in check. Not exactly a role I was born to play. If I survive without pissing someone off, I will certainly be deserving of an Oscar nomination.

Red Carpet, here I come.

I am finding, however, that there are certain things that drive me a wee bit crazy. It’s not like that’s a very long trip for me, so please understand, I am not griping or complaining about the kind and well-intentioned actions and messages of others, just noticing my reaction to them and wondering out loud why they annoy me.

First, there are the messages of condolences. It’s sort of like saying happy birthday. There are only so many ways to let someone know how badly it must suck to go through the process of releasing a loved one from this life.

Hmm…I may have to use that next time someone I care about is grieving. “I am so sorry. It really sucks for you to have to go through this.”

I really think most people prefer to give condolences without getting too involved or too emotional. You know….express the concern, yet keep it professional…..CSI style.

“I am sorry for your loss.”

I have watched way too much of that show, because as much as I love the people who have used some version of that line, it sorta makes me crazy. Again, my problem, not theirs, so nobody needs to be offended or apologize. It’s not your job to adjust the thermostat to keep me happy.

I am grateful for your love regardless of how you choose to express it.

Really. I am.

I guess the whole “Sorry for your loss” just sounds too murder-investigation-y for me. Sorta like, “Sucks for you. Glad it’s not me. Keeping a professional distance is the name of the game. Oh, and I need to ask you a few questions. Where were you on the night of the murder?”

Yes, I need psychological help. Is there a doctor in the house?

On the other hand, there have been some beautifully composed messages of condolences. Some of my favorites so far have been these:

“My intention is for comfort and joy.”

“I am so sorry and will pray for peace that surpasses all understanding for your family! Ya’ll are in my prayers.”

“My love and prayers go out to Charles’s family. He was a wonderful man who will truly be missed by all who ever had the pleasure of meeting him. Love you all.

“You are all in my prayers. He was such a sweet man and had a wonderful family too.”

“Wonderful man, wonderful family. God bless you all!”

And even the simple messages that said things like, “Love you,” “Hugs and Prayers,” “Thinking of you all,” and “Thinking of you guys” are so appreciated, whether accompanied with dose of CSI or not. ;-)

I think it’s the personalization that warms my heart. I am grateful for all who take the time to send a message of comfort. I am abundantly grateful for those who add a personal touch or something just a bit different.

It’s beyond cool.

The other thing on my list of minor annoyances is flip-flopping and mind-changing, especially when I sometimes get to be the messenger of what’s NOT going to happen only to be told later that plans have changed and now people are down to 24 hours for planning and prep to be nice to us.

Especially when those people crunched for planning and prep time are the same people who asked five days ago if we wanted them to do something.

And especially when they are people I really care about.

It’s a bit awkward and frustrating to say the least.

I am grateful they are not nearly as shallow and petty as I am.

I am also grateful to be part of a family who loves each other enough to overlook the minor annoyances as just a part of the insanity and stress of the process.

No hurt feelings. No grudges.

Just an abundance of love.

Flexibility is definitely the name of the funeral game.

Annoyed or not, I am truly blessed.

4 Responses to “My Crazy Funeral Hangups”

  • Viv:

    I am not sure how I missed that Eric’s father passed away, but I am so sorry. I really am. I didn’t know until after lunch to day when Allison texted me. I apologize for being in the dark.
    It is such a hard thing, losing a parent , and your kids losing their grandparent. I am sorry.I wish I could say something grand, but all Ican say is I love you guys and I am here with a hug if you need one!

  • Tough times for you all. I never know what to say to someone in these situations – thanks for sharing your first hand experience. I am praying for you Angie.

    • It is so hard to know what to say and what not to say. I’ve had the privilege of learning about the energy of certain words, plus a couple of sharing sessions with my sis-in-law when Eric’s brother passed suddenly several years ago gave me some huge insight. I tend to be a “not say anything” type of person, but I’m getting better at it. I think most people prefer to hear something personal rather than generic, and yet that can be difficult if you don’t really know the family well.

      Thanks for the prayers. Those are always appreciated!

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