I cannot bear funerals anymore. I went to my share of them when I was younger and other than being upset to see my loved ones sad, it didn't bother me that much. I would go on with my life afterward as usual. My grandmother's funeral in 1999 was different, maybe because I was so close to her. I hate that my final and overriding memory of her is lying in a casket. For a couple of years after her funeral, I would be overwhelmed with sadness, thinking of her in that box, out in the cemetery, all alone. I could not deal with it. I vowed then that I wouldn’t attend any more funerals. I just cannot handle it anymore.
I know that most people feel that a funeral will give them the closure they need when a loved one dies, but just the fact that I won't see them anymore is closure enough for me. My family is very important to me. You can always make the argument that the funeral business is a racket: it’s prohibitively expensive and people can guilt you into going into debt so you won’t be dishonoring your loved one. And there are people who feel that unless you show up at every family function, then you obviously have no regard for your family. I prefer to visit my family while they’re alive.
When my father-in-law passed away, he wanted only to be cremated with no funeral. I was astonished; I never knew anyone who died and didn’t have a funeral. He was also the first person I knew who wanted to be cremated. My Mom was impressed with that too. We discussed it when she became terminally ill. I asked her what kind of funeral she wanted, where wanted to be buried, etc. She told me she wanted to be cremated and to not deal with a funeral. If I wanted to do a memorial service, that would be fine. I told her to tell everyone, so they wouldn’t be mad at me when she died, but some of them still were. It wasn’t my decision. If I had had the money, I would have given her a full Viking funeral with fireworks, dancing bears, cheerleaders and the Rolling Stones playing, if she had wanted it but she didn’t. Her co-workers and friends at the hospital where she worked gave her a memorial service that I didn’t attend. I wasn’t able to handle that either.
My wonderful, sweet, big, gorgeous uncle Larry is gone and his funeral is on Saturday. I won’t be there. I want to remember him the last time like I saw him earlier this year: sitting at his kitchen table, laughing about some book he had read. I want to remember his snuffling giggle and his stories about the cool things he found at the flea market, or what his grandkids were up to. He was a good man and I’ll miss him very much.