Posted by: silverstar98121 | February 5, 2009

Family Circus

I hate funerals. I hate them for many reasons. But what has really turned me off on them is my brothers. They blow my mind. Thankfully, this is the last funeral of the older generation we will be involved in, from now on it will be each in our own families. Or in my case, The Neptune Society.

Mom died on Monday, Dad was scheduled for a surgery that couldn’t be put off on Wednesday. Since she was being cremated anyway, we put the memorial service off until Dad could come. Which gave us all a chance to get decent airfare home, too.

My gay brother was in charge of my mother’s memorial service. Mom’s funeral was in our home parish, where my folks had attended for decades. My mom was well known as an organist, and my family was prominent in Catholic circles. So it was that Mom’s funeral Mass was presided over by two priests and a bishop. And each of us had to have a part. My part? I carried the unconsecrated hosts down the altar. As a newly found Pagan, I was sure that lightning would strike me dead on the trip.

This time it’s different. Dad has been in a retirement home far from the home parish for years. So it is that Dad will be buried from my other brother’s home parish. I’m sure nobody will be there but the family and maybe some folks from the retirement home.

At any rate, it was pronounced from on high, and the news came to me, that there can be no recorded music in the church. Also we must not speak of scattering or touching the ashes, or the priest will refuse to do the service. My sister said we would have to mute the slide show if it had music. At which juncture I informed her that if there could be no recorded music, they sure as hell were not going to allow a slide show in the service.

I think my gay brother is in charge of the order of service again, so it will be as elaborate as possible. I will probably be forbidden from bringing Friday to the church, also. I’ll have to fight on that one, although churches are actually the only ones that can refuse to let in a service dog legally. Separation of church and state and all that. To which I have only to say that the Catholic (and Mormon) churches should get the H-E double toothpicks out of politics.

I don’t have black clothes. I look like hell in them, so I don’t have any. Well, actually I do have a black skirt that came to me through one of The Boyo’s pillaging adventures. And one black T-shirt. I can wear this to the funeral, right?

To add to all this joy, Epona stopped dead yesterday, and I had to push her three blocks home. I had a lot of things to do, and ended up in my chair with ice on my knee after that ordeal. I think it’s something simple in the electrical system that The Boyo can fix, like a wire that came off the battery, or a fuse. At any rate he’s coming over on Friday to look at it. At this point either he can fix it, or I bury it. My Dad has a power wheelchair that I will be bringing home with me from the funeral.

Oh, hell, I forgot to ask if I need to brush up on my Latin, too.


  1. UGH! sounds like a lousy day in the midst of a lousy week…

    any chance the church organist/pianist could play music during the slide show if allowe? wouldn’t be the same, but it’s a potential compromise…

    • DaisyFae- We will probably have a reception of some kind, I imagine we can
      play it then, or play it just for the family when we have dinner at my
      brother’s house. I will have my way.

  2. “allowed”? Who, exactly, is the service for? Limitations of any sort are just ridiculous. The whole thing is for the family’s benefit. What the family wishes, the family should have.

    Makes me glad that I’m not affiliated with any organized religion.

    Sorry it has to be so difficult Silverstar. Plus everything else, to boot.

    • Rob- Years ago when I said I didn’t want a Christian funeral, I was told
      that funerals are for the living. A lot of this stuff strikes me as
      superstition. The Catholic Church has evolved very little in 2000 years.

  3. I agree with Rob “allowed.!” It’s not like you’re asking to dance naked on the casket! Churches should provide spiritual comfort and a little music and photos seem hardly likely to harm them and greatly easing of the spirit for you and your family.

    I hope your family can come together in support of each other’s needs.

  4. Wow, that priest is very old school – as in medieval.

    My dad’s funeral was lovely and two of the priests who led the mass were school chums of his and the deacon who gave the homily was a neighbor and good friend – so Mom had it done pretty much the way Dad wanted it.

    My sister, DNOS, never takes no for an answer, so I imagine Mom’s (when the inevitable day comes) will have her wishes honored to the letter too.

    Banning a service dog is just unChristian.

    And while I think the shirt is cool, I can’t imagine that a priest who hates music and dogs will think so, but you could always tell people that your Dad gave it to you and it has special meaning to you both. People cringe away and shut up when you throw that kind of thing at them.

    Sorry about the Epona but good that you will be getting another ride.

    I am very sorry about your Dad.

    • That’s what I thought, too, Annie. Will probably need to brush up on my

  5. hmm….. not sure about THAT t-shirt for a funeral 🙂

    hope it goes as well as can be expected silverstar. shame about the music. is the priest someone who actually knew your father?

  6. I wish you a lot of courage thees days.

    And personally I think white is a good color for a funeral. In the other half the world it’s the mourning color, and it is the color of hope and future.

  7. I think you should wear whatever color the heck you want to. I almost NEVER wear black to a funeral. When Jim’s dad died his mother requested that no one wear black as he didn’t really like that color.

    I love the T-shirt. I have a nice black one that says “Give me that Old Time religion” across the front, right under a nice depiction of Stonehenge with people dancing around it. I think I’d wear that one if I was being forced to wear black. Especially in a Catholic church.

    From an Old Pagan to a new one, I say you should sit back and enjoy the Mass. Try to identify one thing that is not rooted in the pagan rituals of old. There are candles, incense, the priest carries a staff, the host is placed on a disk of gold, the wine is in a chalice… It is amazing just how far the old catholics went in trying to make the pagans comfortable in the new church so they could get them to tithe. I mean, they even incorporated Mary so that the pagans would have a Goddess figure.

    I’ll be thinking of you, burn a candle for you on my very decidedly pagan altar.

  8. No, you won’t have to brush up on your latin. They do the services in English nowadays. Personally, I think when they stopped using Latin a lot of the beauty and mystery left the service at the same time.

  9. Nurse Myra- No the priest didn’t know my father. There was a priest who came to the retirement home to say Mass, but I think this is whatever priest my brother could dredge up on a holiday weekend. As Annie says, he sounds medieval. I’ll bet he’s close to my Dad’s age of 89.

    Mick- Thank you for your wishes. I’ll keep white in mind.

    HMH- totally wish I had that T-shirt. I would love to wear it to this Mass with that jackass priest. However, I am venting here so the wrath of Silverstar does not get me even more excommunicated from my family. I was in Catholic school when they made the change to English, but some priests still say the Tridentine Mass in Latin. This old bird sounds like one of them. I personally agree that a lot of the beauty and mystery left with the Latin. So did a lot of the vocations, priests and nuns.

  10. I detest funeral services. Our cultural taboos about death and dying come screaming to the surface during these events. Perhaps your own memorial service for your dad would wash away the vile taste of the church.

    On the other hand, be glad that you can be there. When my father died in ’92, no one bothered to tell me until three months after the fact. No, this was not an “oversight”.

    Sorry. I do wish you strength and peace, Eileen, and send you my love.

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