Open or shut case

I’ve been to two funeral-home visitations in the past week. A relation-by-marriage and the mother of a dear friend both passed after long long illnesses. Both families are largely composed of devout Christians who earnestly believe that the departed is now in a far better place. Both families firmly believe that the body left behind is just a shell void of anima and spirit.

Both visitations included open caskets. I’ve been to way too many funerals and I have seen many open caskets. The dead body doesn’t spook me or offend me. I guess I just don’t understand why people want to display something that is the antithesis of the life they are celebrating. I am not criticizing the choice..I just don’t get it.

Oddly enough, I discovered a blog dedicated to this question (IS THERE ANYTHING or ANY TOPIC un-blogged?). Do people really want to be remembered in still repose, a passive shell unsparked?

When I go, I want friends laughing with my family, Steve Earle’s “I ain’t ever satisfied’ playing in the background, and maybe a picture of me at a ballpark. No matter what you believe happens after death, that corpse in the box ain’t really me…I’ll be moving on.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Open or shut case

  1. Having gone through this myself the last two weeks as well, RQ’s dad’s funeral was amazingly positive. He was cremated and his Harley sat in the front of the chapel. Bikers and little old ladies joined together.
    They played old, fun music (CCR and The Animals) The went on a final ride with his mother on his Harley.
    The sound of the bikes was the best song in the world, you know what I mean.
    It was extremely positive.
    I agree with you.
    I want people to celebrate our relationships. It’s just moving on.
    I’m cool with it.

  2. EZA

    “a passive shell unsparked.” What an awesome choice of words.

    I think a big old party in the style of an Irish wake is a good way to celebrate the life that has ended.

  3. Same here, John. I want LOTS of partying and Beatles music, with everyone singing.
    I haven’t quite figured out how I can get someone to scatter my ashes over Paul McCartney’s home in Peasmarsh,though. Or maybe I should say “yet.”

  4. Probably best ‘service’ I ever went to was for a guy who had been a piano instructor his whole adult life, right up to when he died. The ‘service’ was a concert and the people who played were all current/former students. The program was arranged so that the beginners (mostly little kids) played first, and then the pianists progressively got better. At the end were adults who had started piano lessons with him when they were kids. Body was no where to be seen…he had been cremated and his ashes released in the mountains. Although apparently when his family did that, the wind was blowing the wrong way and they all got doused. Yikes.

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