Posted 8/4/2008 11:17 AM (#8465) Subject: Funerals, Families, Feuds and a little laughter.
Location: Saddlebrook,New Jersey
With all this talk of funerals at the moment, it made me think about family things. When my Aunt died and her house was being sold,she had lived there since being a little girl, I couldn't get up for the funeral unfortunately, but anyway to get back to what I was saying. I visited my mother some time after and she asked for some help to clear some items from the house before it went on the market. It looked like it had been stripped by locusts.The rest of the family had all been and taken practically everything that hadn't been nailed down. Obviously this caused bad feelings between everyone, all I can say is I'm glad I lived far away and was not involved with all the bitching and backbiting. In time things settled down and got back to normal almost and then my mother died. Same thing happened and from that day my brother wouldn't speak to me. He would never give a reason and would say it was me not speaking to him.This went on for years and despite repeated attempts by my sister, my wife, and myself he still would not speak to me.
Digressing slightly, the actual funeral was a bit of a farce with the minister, who looked like a schoolkid, making all kinds of mistakes, hymns going wrong and a catalogue of other things(this is where the laughter comes in) but actually it helped to lift everyones spirits and then the helicopter thing as mentioned in another post.
Just before last Christmas I got a phone call to say my brother was very ill in hospital in Italy where he was living.Anyway he pulled through and was allowed home so once again I contacted him, All seemed well, I got a short email saying hi and a promise to keep in touch and I thought his close shave had resolved things between us, but it was not to be.A couple of months later days after a check up where he was told the doctors were very pleased with his progress and he was fitter than he had been for years he died very suddenly.I never did get to speak to him so never found out what had caused the rift.
I was upset but not as devasted as my sister and brother-in -law who had been very close to him. I suppose it didn't impact on my life as we had not spoken for such a long time.
As for his funeral, once again Fate decided to raise our spirits.As he lived in Italy, cremation isn't the done thing there, so his wife arranged for him to be cremated in the largest city close to where they lived, about a two hour journey from his home.His body had to be taken straight from the hospital and my sister-in-law and his son had to be there to ensure it was him and then the coffin was screwed down and the undertakers came and took it. Apparently, the mafia have a habit of putting their victims bodies into coffins, hence the security.My nephew said the undertakers themselves looked like the blues brothers and he wasn't sure if they were real.They set off along the motorway with the hearse leading, but after a short time pulled off.My nephew didn't know what was going on but it was to get petrol! they were then told they were behind time and would have to hurry.The hearse set off and my nephew could only just keep up as they were doing about 80m.p.h Once again they pulled off the motorway and drove through a small village. Everyone in the village crossed themselves and fell to their knees as the hearse drove by. They continued up the road to a cul de sac and had to turn around.It was the wrong road. As they drove back through the village the same thing happened with the villagers all on their knees again. Eventually they arrived at the city and his son and wife were told to go and get a cup of coffee and come back in twenty minutes. there was no service as such and the cremation took place at a municipal site. When they went to pick up his remains the underakers opened a large shutter door and loads of ash flew out covering them both. His son said he swallowed more of his dad than was in the urn. Finally they got home and his urn is placed in a hole in the wall in the local church yard. When all this was being relayed to me by my sister, who felt guilty she could not go to his funeral, we both ended up in tears, but tears of laughter.It was all so fitting knowing my brothers sense of humor and again we believe he had a hand in this as we could not attend the funeral as basically there wasn't one.
Sorry to have gone on but all this is leading to my thoughs that families and funerals often lead to feuds and we should do our best not to let things get out of hand.
Posted 8/4/2008 1:28 PM (#8474 - in reply to #8465) Subject: RE: Funerals, Families, Feuds and a little laughter.
OH Chot, I don't know whether to laugh, cry, slam my fist into a wall or hug you. What an insane situation. Either which way, you moved me. What a blessing that after it all this you maintain a sense of humor. I also am estranged from all of my siblings except for one. (there were 6 of us, 3 and 3, and I am Cindy of the Brady Bunch, youngest girl). When I became spiritually attuned I was mocked and threatened and harrassed and disowned. When my mother passed in 2003, I flew back home for the funeral. I was greeted at my mother's coffin by my brother in law flinging the funeral bill in my face in front of a room full of mourners. I sat in the back row of my mom's services. My aunts urged me to sit in the front, saying that that is where I belonged. I refused, saying that mom knows I am here. The sister I still speak to is also estranged from the rest of the bunch. She was unable to come home for the funeral, so she faxed a heartfelt letter to the priest and he read it. My other siblings cackled and laughed out loud while he read this beautiful tender letter about my mom. My sister learned of this laughter, not from me, because I wanted to spare her that agony, but from someone else in the family, I would imagine. She holds anger. So much anger. It fuels her, all this resentment. She doesn't understand that it really is humorous!! She doesn't understand how I can even mention their names without spitting nails. It is because I forgave. I let go. I am strong in my convictions. They, despite the tears and pain caused over the years, taught me a valuable lesson. Be true to yourself. I must have "chosen" this family to be able to learn this. Thanks Be To God!
Another brief and funny story! When my ex husband died ( the father of my 2 oldest children ) , we were at the cemetary, there were over 100 people there, as he was from a huge Italian family. His younger sister Michelle brought along a portable CD player with the plans of playing Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon/Eclipse as this was Larry's anthem song. She had previously loaded the thing with batteries and of course tested it to make sure it was functioning. When all the old and grieving aunts and uncles left, only his siblings, myself, my current husband and our children remained. Michelle hit play, and the dang thing did not play. When she tried it again, it played, skipping the entire first few minutes of the song, and started with the absolutely gorgeous ending of the song:
All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel.
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save.
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy,
beg, borrow or steal.
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say.
All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight.
All that is now
All that is gone
All that's to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
"There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark."
This may seem silly, but it was strong, real and true.
Amidst our tears, Michelle looked up into the sky, spoke to her brother in their usual manner of speech ( like drunken sailors ) and asked him if he was responsible for this insane malfunction. The wind blew, and leaves fell upon us on this New England autumn day.
We still look back on that day 8 years ago with fondness and laughter, love and closeness and the knowledge that life indeed does go on.