Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Real Men Should Plan Their Own Mother's Funerals

I went to a funeral today. If you read my blog with any frequency, you will eventually find that this is not an uncommon occurrence in my life. I do some volunteer work and a good number of my friends are considerably older than I am. So I attend their funerals and if their spouse dies, I go too. The only thing that is sure in life is death. Forget taxes, people cheat those all the time. You can’t cheat death though… it is an inevitability.

So guess what I DIDN’T wear?!!! Not shorts, a tank top, flip flops or a fanny pack. I didn’t treat her as a tourist attraction. “Oh let’s see, we’ll hit Palm Beach, the Flagler Museum, then I’ll mosey on over to the local funeral home and do a visitation.” Blech. I know, obscure reference to Reagan's funeral. I'll move on.

This women's organization I’m in, and of which this 93 year old woman was a member of, has a chaplain. Our chaplain called the funeral home to get information and the director discreetly asked her if we would plan something for the deceased. It seemed the son was not going to. He was going to have a standard visitation, open the doors, let people file in and file out and leave. No words to be said about her, no nothing. So my chapter upon hearing the son was TOTALLY dropping the ball on this, planned her whole damn funeral. Nothing that was going to cost him, mind you, but the service, the speakers, the programs, we bought flowers, everything. So let me yell this at the top of my lungs now, “REAL MEN PLAN THEIR OWN MOTHER’S FUNERALS!” There. I feel better. I can think of only three reasons you cannot plan your own Mother’s funeral:

* You are under the age of 30. I will give you to the age of 30 to no longer be a man/boy. After that, you are a man.

* You suffer from either very low IQ or are not mentally competent

* Your mother died in a freak wood chipper accident with your entire family. (Wood chipper reference stolen from my Blog Father Grau)

Other than that, give me a damn break. She was his frickin’ MOTHER! And I knew the woman! She was a damn good person. She deserved to have a few words said over her body… which brings me to…

You have not attended a funeral until you have done so with a lot of elderly ladies. Older people are a damn riot. They do not hold back. I was standing by the coffin, which was open, Blech, and there she is, looking very dead. An 80something year old woman walks right up, looks at me and says loudly, “Yuck. Those glasses look terrible on her.” and walks away. A couple minutes later another woman, who is 94 walks up and says very loudly, “her hair looks terrible! So fierce!” Well, it did look terrible, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to SAY anything! Especially not to her son… which she did. (Her son’s reply was, “You take what you can get.”) Another woman was sitting in the pews and I heard her say loudly, “This confirms it. I’m having closed casket!”

All and all today’s experience was not a bad one. Just very enlightening…


Blogger Contagion said...

See I don't have to worry about planning my mother's funeral. She's done it all for me already. I just have to follow her directions. (Anybody that has met my mother will tell you this doesn't surprise them)

I think you're not giving guys enough credit. once they hit 25 they are mature enough to be men. When we are still college age we tend to still do stupid things.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Harvey said...

I agree with Contagion - 25 is plenty. You've been out of college (assuming you went) for a couple years, and you probably have a job and some real-world problem-solving experience.

Old enough to do a funeral. Or at the very least, ask someone for help in doing so.

Oh, and there's nothing worse than a "fierce hair day" LOL! :-D

8:38 AM  
Blogger Graumagus said...

I agree that 25 is old enough, but I do want to say something on the flipside of this topic.
If you're getting up there in years, make your own funeral arrangements.
Not saying that the son shouldn't take care of it, and most people (other than Contagion's mom, who has probably written her own eulogy) pre-arrange every minute detail (IE: speakers) but you should have life insurance, arrangements on what you want done (cremation, buy a plot and pre-buy a casket, etc.)
and make sure everyone knows what you're wishes are in writing.
It's morbid, but it helps the surviving family a lot.
I've already let my wife know I want to cremated. I haven't decided where to have my ashes scattered (or mixed with black powder and fired at the english).
I know Contagion wants to have his ashes mixed into a vat of mead and drunk by friends and family, which means I'll end up drinking the whole damn thing because
I don't think anyone else will touch it.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

Y'all are probably right. It's probably 25. Funny, when I was writing it, I wrote 25, then thought, "Hmm. I know some pretty immature 25 year olds" and swapped it to 30, but y'all are correct. Hey, you're men, you would know!

She had her obit written, casket picked out, funeral home picked out, her tomb stone bought and pre-engraved awaiting her at her burial site next to her deceased husband in the NE. All he had to do was get speakers, flowers, talk to them about music... None of which he intended to do.

Now, MY grandmother was like Contagion's Mom. When she died unexpectedly 5 years ago, she had the funeral home arranged, the casket and casket flowers picked out, music all arranged, her damn burial outfit laid out somewhere and every year she would call my 5th cousin twice removed, who is a minister, and remind him he was doing her funeral. (Yes, even those of us who hold Druid Priestesses in the highest esteem have ministers hidden in the family closet somewhere...)

My husband and I are even starting to make arrangement. After seeing the 'fierce hair', I am thinking more and more about cremation for after the organ transplant team is finished with me! :-)

11:52 AM  

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