Death Becomes Her

I couldn’t think of another catchy title for this week’s Monday Mission entry, so I’m afraid that will have to do.

1. Since we’ve covered the standard “where do you go when you die” question, let’s get a little deeper. When you do die, would you like to be able to watch your funeral?

I think it would be neat to watch my funeral, yes, but only if I couldn’t feel sad! I wouldn’t want to hover there feeling all guilty at leaving my loved ones behind. 😉

2. Catholics must have the longest funeral services ever. I think there is a lot to be said for the traditions that they keep, but it was just so depressing. I’d like my funeral to be much more upbeat, like those I’ve seen in New Orleans. What type of funeral would you plan for yourself?

I’d like a joyous one, and one that’s closed-casket. I’d also like to have photos showing me and my friends and family having fun, so people can look and laugh as they remember the good times. I’d like my favorite songs played, many of them upbeat praise and worship songs. I’d like packets of flower seeds given to those who attend, so they can scatter them and start a little garden in my memory. I think that’s the coolest kind of memorial.

As a child, when I was angry sometimes I would wish that a parent or teacher would die. Thank goodness wishes like those are never granted. I think it probably takes the loss of someone important before you learn the value of life. When did you first realize that life was so fragile?

Gosh, probably when my grandma Georgie died in a car accident. It was the first time someone really close to me, someone I truly loved, was taken from my life.

4. When we said our final respects to Grandma H. today, I though about her impact on the world. No, she didn’t cure cancer or make sweeping changes to society. But she did leave a legacy of four sons and a daughter, who in turn have children and grandchildren. And maybe that was her purpose, to launch future generations that will accomplish great things. Some of us are here to make a huge splash in the pond of life, others are here to direct the ripples in the water. Of the people you’ve known personally who have passed away, what sort of legacy, impact, mark or achievement did they leave behind?

My grandma Georgia left me with a love of reading and nature, and memories of summers weeks spent at her home – just me visiting her. She listened to my endless chatter because she knew that sometimes you had to bear up with the trivial in order to catch a glimpse of the heart.

5. One thing that struck me at the funeral, was that there were so many men were dressed in casual clothes. I was brought up to believe that men should always wear a suit to a funeral, as a show of respect. Maybe these men were never taught that. Maybe they just don’t own suits. Maybe that I am just old fashioned and not hip to the times. Do you think there is an “appropriate” way to dress for attending a funeral? Or is it even important?

I guess it depends on the deceased and his/her family. If people come to my funeral in jeans and t-shirts, that’s okay with me. I love the fact that our church makes it known that our dress is casual – it’s the hearts of people that matter. Some social stigmas need to be let go when it comes to matters of the heart.

6. Grandma H. was far enough along in life to have been able to plan ahead for her funeral, even down to the tiny details such as song selections. It was nice to finally attend a funeral where they didn’t play “Amazing Grace!” My choices would be “Ode to Joy” and “I’ll Fly Away.” What are some of the more memorable songs you’ve heard played at funerals?

I’ve not really heard a lot of unusual music played at funerals. Most of the time, the funerals I’ve attended have been at the same funeral home in town, and there tends to be quiet classical music played softly in the background.

7. I’ve been craving some home-made pickles for years now. Not just any, but the kind my dear Great Grandmother made. It’s been over 20 years since she died, but I can still remember just how her dill pickles taste. No one in the family has even attempted to make them since. Today at the funeral I overheard someone wishing that they had asked Grandma H. for her home-made noodle recipe but now it was too late. Do you have any favorite foods that only one relative made, and the recipe died with them?

And HOW. My grandma made yogurt cookies, and had a recipe for them. Grandpa threw out so many things like that in the year following her death, and her recipe was among the rubbish. These cookies were of a sugar cookie variety, only they were very moist and plumped up thick when baked. They had a vanilla flavor to them. They were just the best things, and no recipe I’ve tried has come close; I can sure relate to your being able to remember the taste of your grandma’s dill pickles. The taste thing is so fleeting, like a flashing memory of a face or tune – sort of like the rush people get when they smell Crayola crayons and are transported back to kindergarden. The senses are such powerful things!

Today’s Comment Question: Do you like pickles? If so, what kind?

I love pickles. When I don’t care about how rank my breath will end up, I enjoy a sassy, garlic-steeped kosher dill – the kind you pull from a great big jar at the deli counter. Man, those are so good!

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