Adoptions and Funerals

If it wasn’t for the fine folks at Popehat, I’d have lost my sanity long ago. They mix law, social disdain, irreverence, reverence, compassion, and adoption all into one blog. It’s fun. Really.

Ken at Popehat adopted several kids from Korea. I, for one, think that’s great. All of my kids have a significant amount of Korean ancestry, and they each exhibit differing degrees of Korean features. Some significant, some slight. It made for good fun, what with anticipating the level of  Korean appearance when they popped-out and skidded across the hospital floor.

Ken has the patience of a saint, and he puts-up with a vast amount of shit from people trying to be smart, cute, funny, or a horrifying mix of the three. The comments are astounding, and he blesses us all with a comprehensive list. While mine aren’t adopted, I still get a few of the dumbass comments.

All the same, Ken has clearly absorbed infinitely more crap than I have in this respect.

Yet, his post actually jumpstarted some memories for me, and I am reminded of equally-inappropriate comments at my favorite of events–funerals. All degrees of assholery exhibit themselves at funerals, and I’ve got some serious, championship-level experience having buried two parents along with spectator status at a score of others.

Where to start… (taken from comments at visitations, funerals, and graveside services)

  • Would you like me to get a picture of him/her in the casket for you?
  • I can’t believe they did her hair that way. She never did her hair that way. Gertrude, come over here and see what they did with her hair. Can you believe that?
  • I really wish they had put-on his glasses. He always wore his glasses.
  • Look at the view he/she has from here.
  • What type of flowers do you think she’d like me to plant on her grave?
  • He looks so peaceful…
  • I hope so-and-so doesn’t buy plots near here. Can you imagine what he’d think if so-and-so were buried nearby?
  • I can imagine him dancing in heaven right now.
  • Would it be OK if I kissed him/her?
  • Do you think in heaven he’ll still have the (wound from the war, missing eyeball from slingshot accident, absent testicle from wheelbarrow accident, etc).
  • Isn’t it nice that he is next to Uncle Ed? They were always such buddies.
  • I’m so glad he’s close to this red oak tree. He always liked red oaks.
  • Could you please put this in the casket for me? I want her to have this to remember me.
  • Is he wearing shoes?
  • Do you still have his pocketknife? Can I have it?
  • He looks like he’ll get up any minute.
  • How much was the casket?
  • For having cancer, he really looks tan.
  • You should’ve gotten him the copper casket. He would have liked a copper casket.
  • How much did he leave you?
  • Cousin Duhflingis(CD): “I remember he had a collection of silver dollars.”  Me: …  CD: “Did he still have those?”  Me: “I think so.”  CD: “I really liked those. He showed them to me whenever I came over (once every 10 years or so).”  Me: …  CD: “Where’d he keep those?”  Me: …   CD: “I really liked those…”
  • When do you think your Mom will start dating?
  • You’re serving lunch after this, right?
  • He looks so real!
  • Make sure they (the cemetery) keeps this mowed. He’d want it mowed.
  • I can’t believe that X is here. He/she has a lot of nerve. Want me to have them removed?
  • That is a nice suit. Do you think he knew he’d be buried in it?
  • I think he/she would be proud of this funeral.
  • I’m glad he’s on a hill. Wouldn’t want him floating up in a flood like Aunt Opal did in ’95.
  • Make sure they bury him facing east, or else so when Christ comes back and the sun rises… (something about the apocalypse and zombies….I always glaze-over at this point in the story).
  • I hope you got a nice vault (the thing the casket is put into). I’d hate to see that casket get ruined. (I was offered a vault for my father’s burial that was “Guaranteed for 600 years.” Seriously? Like I’m going to check in 550 years and then demand that they honor the warranty if I find a leak. No matter, I’ll make sure my kids know the deal and can pass it onto their kids.)
  • I know he’s up there, smiling down at us. (Imagine how I felt about this as a teenager. The thought of granny “smiling down” from a heavenly, all-seeing perch has a profound effect on any male during their formative “masturbation years.”)
  • I was going to send flowers, but he didn’t send any when Aunt Mabel died five years ago.
  • Too bad his/her grandchildren won’t be able to meet him/her.
  • That was really nice, but next time…

So, if you’re looking for the worst from friends and family, plan a funeral. I guarantee results.

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17 thoughts on “Adoptions and Funerals

  1. When my great grandfather was on his death bed at age 109, I asked him what it was like to be so old. He told me, “it’s hard to get laid.” I told that story at his funeral. Everyone nodded in agreement.

    Some of us just have an innate sense of what’s appropriate at a funeral.

  2. After my mother and father died, one of their oldest friends told me, “You’re nobody’s child now.” I just looked at her and nodded. She’s a good person, and I know she wasn’t trying for shock value. it was something somebody had told her when her parents died, and somehow she found it to be a thoughtful and comforting thing to say.

    My mother had given me strict instructions that she should be cremated and that there should be no funeral or memorial service. Naturally, some of her neighbors had opinions on the matter, one of them even arguing for a memorial by pulling out “Memorials are not for the dead, they’re for the living.” I kind of understand: They knew her, and now a relative stranger (me) was making decisions about her memorial they didn’t like. Of course, there was nothing stopping them from holding their own memorial service.

    You know, some of the examples you give don’t seem so bad. The afterlife-themed ones are par for the course in a religious ritual, and “He looks so peaceful…” is so common that I think people assume it’s part of the ritual. A few of the others sound like people just flailing around for something to say, and coming up with something stupid. I could see myself doing that. Which is why I try to always follow Miss Manners and keep it safe by just saying, “I’m so sorry.”

  3. My grandmother was a wonderful well-loved person. When she died, we were inundated with cards, flowers, and baked goods. The most memorable card came from a woman who offered her condolences and then asked if she could have my grandmother’s vacuum.

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