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Sunday, February 25, 2007
lettuce spray
Listening to:Keep It Tight, Amos Lee
Reading:some stuff
Weather:40, mostly cloudy, was raining madly a bit ago
Funerals can be very weird for atheists. Even people who were barely religious in life tend to get this hyperchristian bible-laden bon voyage at your typical funeral. I've been to several funerals over the past few years and without exception you would have thought the dead person had been a freakin nun or something, with all the long boring bible quoting and the MC dripping in jesus institution garb and ritual. What's with that? My instinct is that it's a money making niche the various churches have installed themselves into monopolies over. I doubt they actually charge, but I also doubt any one ever asks one to officiate a funeral and then fails to hand over a chunk of change at the end, either directly to the ringmaster or to the general church coffers. They've got you and they know you're vulnerable.

It's a real deterrant for the rest of us, few though we may be, to going to these things. Which rather sucks, because I really tend to want to gather together with a group of folks who knew my recently dead friend or relative and commiserate and hear funny stories about her and express our sadness together. I really like meeting other family and friends of hers whom I didn't know and seeing my dead friend in them. It's a really unique and cool thing, and a very satisfying and comforting way to say goodbye, for me, anyway. At my friend Dan's dad's funeral hardly a single word was actually said about his dad, it was just a stream of bible quoting. I left wondering if the MC's even knew him at all.

Joyce Farmer's funeral in Wheeling on Friday certainly had plenty of all that. But thankfully it did at least include several people telling personal little stories and thoughts illustrating what kind of person Joyce was and what her loss means to them. There were several humorous moments where we all laughed. Most of the service , which was a couple hours long, seemed designed to help you picture Joyce the way you knew her, in a happy time doing her thing. It was really lovely. This is not to say it was all smiles, by the end I doubt there was a dry eye in the house, and we all hugged each other like Joyce would hug us, for real. We all were missing her, but I think most of us left with the overwhelming sense of just being glad we got to know her for a while on this cosmic trip. Even atheists could dig that notion.

permalink posted by cat 12:21 PM

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lettuce spray