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Thread: Funeral Service Question.

  1. #1
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    Funeral Service Question.

    Odd topic for a woodworking forum but then again so are moose.

    Friday we buried my grandmother. (It's alright, she was a million years old (OK, 96 ) and had a good life. She was ready when the time came.)

    It was the most unusal funeral I've ever been to but I'm not that experienced in the way fo funerals. I thought I'd ask to see if others have run across what I experienced and see if anyone knows the reason for it.

    After lunch at the church, the funeral director (FD) had us "process" to the funeral home behind him. The trip was down the alley, left to the end of the block, a slight jog to the right, then left and into the driveway at the funeral home where we parked. I could have pushed the car with everyone in it that far.

    The family was lead into the funeral home and into a room with a few rows of chairs facing a curtain. After we sat there looking at this curtain for about 15 minutes, the lights were turned down. At this point Ian, my 3-1/2 year old son asked, "Are we going to watch a moo-vie?" The FD came in and opened the curtain revealing another sheer curtain. On the other side of that curtain was a room with chairs lined up facing toward the right. In them were seated a number of folks. If you leaned forward and looked to the right you could see the casket and the minister. The latter spoke about my grandmother's life and did all those sorts of things that ministers do at funerals including mispronouncing many of the names of the relatives granny left behind.

    After the minister was finished the FD opened a side door in the room where the casket was and the folks sitting in that room filed past the casket and out the door. We sat there listening to Amazing Grace skipping on the CD player until everyone but family was out the door. Thenb the FD came and opened the sheer curtain a little and we filed out, past the casket, shook the minister's hand and then out the door into the sunshine and southern Iowa September heat.

    So is this thing of having the family viewing the funeral from a distance as it were a common thing? If I hadn't been family and just showed up for the funeral, I'd have thought the family had skipped the funeral altogether. Any idea where this sort of funeral service comes from? Is it from some specific tradition? I was thinking I'd try to look it up on the Internet but I don't even know how to search for something like that.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

  2. #2
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    Never heard of such! 96 is quite impressive, I hope she had a good life!

  3. #3
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    I agree, not something I've ever heard of. Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Nelson View Post
    Never heard of such! 96 is quite impressive, I hope she had a good life!
    Thank you Ed. I don't think she had many regrets. She certainly saw a lot of changes in those years.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

  5. #5
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    I've not seen that particular practice, but I've seen funeral chapels with a wing off to the side for the family.

    I would suspect the whole sheer curtain thing is to give the grieving family a bit of privacy from the rest of the attendees.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  6. #6
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    Dave,

    I'll ask Doorlink in the morning... she's experienced in these matters.

    My own grandmother moved on at 98, and that seemed way too soon. I'm sorry for your loss.

    Peace,

    Bill

  7. #7
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    It is fairly common with funeral homes in this area to seat the family in a curtained area as you have described. However most funerals here (in central Arkansas anyway) are in churches. There the family walks in together as all others stand in silence to show respect. The family always sits at the front of the church.

  8. #8
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    Sounds odd to me Dave, but I'll not go into ODD in the way of funerals here in Japan, they TOP odd for a 1st world nation, IMHO.

    Sorry to hear of your Granny passing, 96, not bad at all!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
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    Dave, I've unfortunately been to a LOT of funerals over the years, all in churches many years ago, but more and more have been in the Funeral Home Chapels in recent years. When in churches, the Family always come in last and are seated in front, AND the Non Family ALWAYS view the body First. After the non family have left the building the doors are closed to give the Family privacy to say their last goodbyes.

    Almost ALL of the Funeral Home Chapels I have been in, have a room off to the right side of the main chapel as you described, to give the family privacy during the service, and they are brought in as a group just before the service starts. The non Family, as in churches, view the body first and leave the building, and the doors are closed and then the family views the body in private. I, have not seen anyplace with either of the curtains you described though. I guess that is just a new feature in Funeral Home Design.

  10. #10
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    Thank you all.

    It sounds like there are regional differences or at least north-south differences. Interesting.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

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