Funerals are hard

Today was my grandfather’s funeral, and overall, it went very well. I’m pretty good, though I’ll admit that I cried. I’m just happy for my family, who really got to comemorrate today.
My father gave a great remembrance speech and we played Grandpa’s favorite song (I Did it My Way, by Frank Sinatra). Also, we got to hear my grandfather one last time. My cousins had taken it upon themselves to do a recording of Grandpa a while ago (a year or two, I think?). They have a full 120 minutes of him telling stories about his life and such, now safely burned on to CD for everyone in the family to get. During the service today, they played a brief bit where grandpa talks about his best memory, to which he replies (I paraphrase): “My wife and I had a great time for many years. I have great children, and grandchildren, and I always tried to be a good parent and grandparent. That’s… life to me, and I couldn’t be happier.”

The only problem, for me, is that it was also a very religious service. I walk a fine line there, because while I don’t believe in it, I don’t want to offend my friends and family who do. Which leads to interesting ethical questions like, “Do I say the prayer with them, even though I don’t mean it?” I choose to bow my head respectfully, but not to say the words. That would seem hypocritical to me. More hypocritical than even I am willing to be. But during that silent time with my head hung, I did offer my version of a prayer, saying to myself that I would remember that all things are one, and grandpa is and will be part of that unity.

I just wanted to thank everyone who has expressed their fond hopes and wishes and condolences for my family. I appreciate it. Finally, it’s over with, and my family can start to heal and move on.

7 Responses to “Funerals are hard”

Anonymous - November 30th, -0001 at 12:00 am
Anonymous - November 30th, -0001 at 12:00 am

At my grandfather’s funeral two years ago (And almost every other religious ceremony) I ran in to some of the same problems. Do I sing with the hymns (I tend to), do I say the prayers (I tend not to), etc. My biggest concern is that I simply don’t cry at funerals, and I always feel that people are looking at me with scorn because I’m not crying.
Very sorry to hear about your granddad, though the recording of his stories is an amazingly good idea. My grandpa started having bad strokes years and years ago, so I never even really knew most of his life story. Hope my kids do that for me.

Owen - August 14th, 2004 at 9:05 pm

That is one regret I have about when two of my grandfathers passed away. I was young enough at the time that there life stories seemed unimportant and dry. Such is the way of youth I suppose. Still I have some found memories. I only went to one of my grandfathers funerals and actually it was a memorial services. All I remember about it is that I felt sick from the heat all day, and I ate most of an angle food cake. As for the question of pray I won’t and haven’t for a long time said any pray. I do bow my head in respect of other peoples beliefs. However I still find power and meaning in most of the hymns that are sung. Something about the power of music I suppose. Anyways again my condolences to your families and yours loss.

Gilvoro - August 14th, 2004 at 11:48 pm

I haven’t been a church for “worship” since my Confimation in tenth grade. And the last time I was in a church was for Owen’s wedding. Having never been permitted to go to a funeral (long story; not my parents’ fault), I imagine that I would bow my head but not sing or pray. I wouldn’t be comfortable with it. And I don’t think it’s fair of me to participate in a faith I think is bunk. I feel like that’s hurtful to people who thinks it’s real and important. That’s why I don’t wear my crosses anymore.

ShortSpeedFreak - August 20th, 2004 at 11:30 pm

Yeah. I think it was kind of hard on my Dad reading this post, because I know that he believes so storngly (which I respect him so much for). It’s hard to disagree with someone’s most cherished beliefs and not step on their toes, sometimes.

Paradoxdruid - August 21st, 2004 at 12:53 pm

I don’t think I’ve told any of you, but my grandmother is slowly (well, rather quickly) dying. She’s got a leaky heart valve that was supposed to kill her within six months (this was, naturally, diagnosed eight months ago). She’s doing pretty well, actually, is healthier than eight months ago and has a big chunk o’ energy. An interesting thing she’s said is that she won’t die until she knows all of her children are going to go to heaven. To which my aunt and I replied, “Well… exactly how loose are their admission policies?” It must be hard for her to know that none of her children really have the same deep, abiding faith in God that she has, and only my brother comes close in the family. I can’t really imagine the stress that puts on her, spiritually and emotionally, but I believe that if God’s good people, he’ll surround himself with good people, and that’s us.

Owen - August 21st, 2004 at 8:28 pm

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