Funerals then… Now… And Movie Versions

I just got a phone call from a collection agency looking for my Grandmother, Freda Dry. I had to sadly inform them that she had passed away on the 5th and we had just had her funeral yesterday. Sorry collection agency people, her debts die with her.

I always envision funerals to be like the ones in the movies, a ton of people show up, everyone is in black, an overwhelming amount of flowers sent by those trying to express their sympathy or by those who can’t make the funeral, and then there is an after-the-funeral-party at someone’s house, usually the widow. I’ve been to a few funerals that were similar to that, a bunch of people show up, a lot of flowers and of course the Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” 

Can’t forget: “In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our brother N.; and we commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless him and keep him, the Lord make his face to shine upon him and be gracious unto him, the Lord lift up his countenance upon him and give him peace. Amen.



Both of my grandparent’s funerals were disappointing. I partially blame my brother for botching my grandfather’s funeral and then again I feel I made the same mistakes. The thing is I took for granted the amount of preplanning my grandparents did. They made their funeral arrangements in 1987, yes, almost 30 years ago, and paid for them. The headstone was bought, carved (just needed death dates) and placed on their plot, just waiting for them for 30 years. (Nothing has patience like a tombstone.)

When my grandfather died in 2010, he was placed in the ground before the obituaries were published. I was expecting half the county of Bollinger to be there and only about a dozen people were. I’m just glad that Grandpa was buried with full military honors. Grandpa served in the Navy in WW2, in the Seabees.

So this time, when Grandma died, I handled the funeral or rather bumbled my way through it. The Funeral Director was asking me all sorts of questions, clothes grandma would be wearing, music played, who did I want to do the service, did I want Grandma embalmed? I honestly thought that all this would’ve been part of the preplanning (except the clothes). I was also told that there was a fee for reopening the grave which was not included in the pre-plan because those rates vary. I tried to google how much to reopen a grave and when I came across this website: Why Does it Cost So Much to Open a Grave Today? I’m pretty sure I threw up a little in my mouth. I had no idea how much it would cost to reopen the grave, but I sure as Hell don’t have $500 – $1200. I had to borrow gas money to drive the four hours round trip (twice). The funeral home, blessedly absorbed the cost of the grave reopening but still handed me a bill for $85 to finish carving Grandma’s headstone with her death date. When I get paid I’ll pay it.

So back to the original topic, about 30 people showed up for Grandma’s funeral (and one woman who signed the register for 6 families who were never there). The notices came out in the papers before she was buried, and there wasn’t an after-party (no money and no place to have one, my dad paid for my family, my brother and his girlfriend to eat at Ponderosa in Perryville.) Also only my family was in black. I mean, I wore black, my husband wore black, my daughter wore black, and my son wore black slacks and a purple dress shirt. My brother, Dad, his girlfriend and cousin Tony all showed up in blue jeans. The woman who signed the register for the 6 families also was in jeans and a halter top and flipflops.

I know I should blame the media for how a funeral should look and how people should dress but I googled ‘What to wear to a funeral.” And quoted from: Everplans: What to Wear to a Funeral or Memorial Service “Women should avoid wearing overly casual, festive, or revealing clothing. Appropriate outfits for women to wear to a funeral include a skirt suit or pantsuit; a skirt of appropriate length (not a mini skirt) or pants (not jeans) and a top with sleeves, a blouse, or a sweater; flats or pumps (not sneakers).”

For men: Art of Manliness: Funeral Etiquette Basics “When we think of funerals, the first image that often leaps to mind is that of people dressed in black. While black is still the traditional color for funerals, this standard has loosened up in modern times to include other dark, conservative clothing. Still, the best way to go is donning a black suit, white shirt, conservative tie, and well-shined black shoes.”

Only 3 sent flowers (the nursing home sent me a plant to my house) but 3 sent flowers to the service.

Anyway I was uber stressed over the funeral and now that it is over I still have to go to the nursing home and pick up my grandmother’s things, but I dunno what to do with them.

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Author: Ransacked Turnip

I'm a dreamer, a coffee drinker, and a lover of animals.

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