You may think that all horror fanatics love funerals. Not me. I see past the bullshit of the tradition. I don't think anyone enjoys funerals. But, there are people with varying opinions and one day, I would love to chat with someone who enjoys attending them. I, especially loathe the tradition itself. I mean no disrespect to anyone who has lost anyone. However, get ready for a rant about the capitalist funeral homes, churches and other places that host what I deem a sick tradition that goes beyond any alleged Satanic Panic ritual.
There is a lot of history surrounding funerals but, what it comes down to is the occasion marks a gathering to pay the respects of the departed soul while, disposing of a body. It's a business that will flourish, despite the method of disposal because, there is always those who are left behind that require closure. A way to formally say good bye. A ritual to "pay respects". Funerals are a ceremony for the living. The dead don't get to enjoy the occasion nor will they be able to even feel or accept the offerings. There have been signs of mourning by other creatures besides humans. Loss is a motherfucker in any capacity. But, humans are the only ones that make profits out of it.
Here in the good ol' West, many of our traditions stemmed from Ancient Greek rituals. Bodies would be burned on a funeral pyre while loved ones and friends watched and said their good-byes. The remains, the ashes, could be kept by the family left behind. That was until the rise and takeover of Christianity and then such a ritual was deemed too dark. There were even practices where the deceased would be put on display in their homes and family and friends would come to dance, celebrate and drink with the body before it was to be buried or cremated. When it comes to Christian values, the body must now be placed in boxes and buried in the Earth. Do you ever wonder how there is still enough room for the billions of humans that have perished and have been buried?
Before Christianity and the Ancient Greeks, human remains were found deep in caves and caverns. Bodies were basically thrown in and covered. Now, we have fancy ass, steel boxes that cost the amount of a used car. Remember when good old wood, hammer and nails were used? They were more environmentally friendly. Shit, my Husband made two within hours. Probably for me, but, until then, we use one as a liquor cabinet and one as a place to display my horror treasures.
When I was a kid, my parents would often take us to visit our Grandmother and Great Aunt. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But, my Grandmother didn't drive so, there times she would need my folks to drive her around and often we stuck around for her church activities. A handful of those occasions were funerals of church members. I remember being under the age of ten and sitting there in the church staring at the nose of the perished one, sticking out from the edge of the coffin. I couldn't believe there was a dead body in that box and, no one was freaking out about it. It reminded me of a wedding ritual. There were flowers, people where dressed nice. Their attention was turned to an altar where a person was speaking more about God than the person, and there were tears. But, really, no one was bothered by the fact there was a dead body just laying there?!
The time came to say good-bye to the deceased. I remember my Mom making us stick together as a family. I did not want to walk by the body. But, what choice did kids have in the 80's? I took note to people kissing the lips and forehead of the corpse. Is it still considered a corpse at this point? I was mortified. Then seeing the body up close was even worse. It is interesting to me. It's obvious the life has left this person. Yet its shell is here to be put on display. Since then, I couldn't help but wonder how sanitary this could be.
I usually pass on Wakes. One I was forced to go to, the deceased was Catholic. It lasted hours. Up, down, repeat the words about Mary, up down. All I could think of was, "Shouldn't the body be on ice?" It has to last through the funeral tomorrow and by the way things were looking, that too, would take a few hours.
It fucking sucked when my Grandmother passed away. I remember being offended when she had my parents to come over & go through her wishes and plans for her death. So, when she did die, I thought it would be a smooth transition and, I thought I would have the time to grieve. While my Dad was amazing, he still took care of many things but, it took over a week. It was like planning a wedding despite, my Grandmother's careful planning. We had to go to the funeral home which a man kept saying my Grandmother expired. He then offered to take my parent's to see her. What? They went and asked if I wanted to go. No! I'm fine with my memories of my Grandmother while she was alive. I found it morbid and pictured them standing over her. Was she the same color? Was she naked? Then there was the selecting of the overpriced caskets. Moving on now, to the place that makes the programs. Getting a hold of the Pastor my Grandmother was loyal to for many years wasn't easy. Even worse was calling the old people that didn't even remember who my Grandmother was as they could barley hear me. And I'm loud. There were delays and all I could see was my parents writing checks and checks and checks. Hadn't this been dealt with already?
The day of her funeral, I abided by my father's wish to read something to honor my Grandmother. I tried not to look at her bod,y though. But, the damn time came to say goodbye before the closing of the casket. I watched my Dad say his goodbye and, kissed my Grandmother. I wanted to just walk out to the Limo. But, I didn't want to make a scene or give my Mother any reason to talk shit about how disrespectful I am. That's back when I cared about trying hard not to offend her. I wish I was as strong then as I am now or else I would have stuck to my guns. Instead, sucked it up, bent over and kissed my Grandmother's corpse. Not too long after, I made the mistake of licking my lips.
It gets better. Remember, my Grandmother had this all planned out. I doubt she knew that her final resting place would be in 20 feet in the air in a wall. I watched, baffled as all fuck, at my Grandmother's casket being lifted and, placed in a hole in a wall. We couldn't see the marker. My Grandma didn't make alot of money. But, what she did make, she was loyal to giving money to her church and her Death Insurance. She basically pre paid for that Pastor to speak at her funeral, and a cheap burial. She won't ever know. I vowed not to put my children through such shit. Cremate me, hold an inexpensive memorial on their own. Just as long as its a party with a dark wave playlist, everyone dressed in Halloween costumes and party! Then, at the end, have someone dressed as the Grim Reaper nonchalantly come in and, take my urn out. Four kids, four lockets with my ashes to do what they please.
I recently learned that Cremations are cheapest way to dispose of a body. However, its not that cheap. It broke my heart to learn that a friend of mine lost her Father suddenly. About a year ago. He didn't have a life insurance or death insurance policy. A simple man, raising his family and giving all he could to them. Yet, while my friend was hysterical, her whole family was, the administration at the Mortuary offered no sympathy when it came to the cost of the cremation. They refused to move forward with the procedure until they were paid. They stood firm and didn't seem to care that it was an impossible moment for the family to sit there and plan how to come up with the money. It was the horror community that rallied and help the family raise the funds.
My elderly neighbor, a kind and full of life kind of man, spent two years caring for his sick wife of 54 years. When she passed, his light was dimmed for sure. He was alone in the planning of her funeral. I almost threw up when he told me that Forest Lawn, stopped the precession of his wife's funeral and summoned him to the office to handle some financial snag. They hadn't received full payment for her burial. Everyone was there. Everyone had to wait while my neighbor, in the middle of his wife's funeral, scrambled to call the insurance company. Forest Lawn did not care that their check was on the way. They wanted their money before burying the woman.
Grief is only allowed after the funeral places are paid. It's very American to have fancy funerals. These places like Forest Lawn and Insurance companies simply capitalize off of death and grief. They work in conjunction because they know they can make money off of grief. They cause family turmoil and humiliation all while, corpses just chill in freezers for weeks. Are these two day traditions with wakes and, funerals and, burials necessary?
I have been to a few genuine Celebrations of Life. The newer term being used to mask the grim word Funeral. My Tio's, for example, was absolutely gorgeous and everyone had a chance to speak about their memories of him. My cousins have a talent for rallying and being creative. From the time he passed till the time of his funeral. I wasn't uncomfortable at all. In fact, for the first time ever, I wanted to be around the grieving. You know why? They actually celebrated his life! They were dancing and laughing. They told jokes and stories and in between their bouts of grief crying. It was a far different experience I had from funerals from my past. I know everyone grieves differently. I, for one, isolate and reflect on the void left from the one who has passed on. I recall their faces while they were alive.
Funerals are a sick tradition. Isn't it ironic that standard society flock en masse to pay respects to dead bodies put on display but, frown upon those that take pictures and picnic in graveyards?
What are you thoughts on funerals?