The christian burial ritual leaves no space for mourning.

I feel I have become a specialist upon the subject recently; having burried both my parents. So I’m not talking about just anything here, I’m talking about how rituals are usefull & how bad the christian burial that we have in place, really is. (for me) The me part is strong in the post as is the ciriticism. Don’t feel forced to even read it.

First, let me put a rough picture up.. Someone dies. In my case, a Great surprise. Next people start flocking in. On one hand the people you need to deal with because they ll get the whole expennse account rolling. Because that Really costs TOO MUCH! Someone dying means a burrial and burrial is really another word for “obscene amount of cash”. Theres 3 parts; the part where you tell everyone the bad news, the part where you actually burry the person and the part where you get together for a fun lunch with the people who knew the deceased person.

So; How does this “grieving” part work? If you re already thinking about that, youre more than premature.

The first things you ll do is organize the whole show (being the 3 parts I mentioned before) and answering the million cals of people hearing about the news. Nobody realizes what the calling actually means. Everybody who knows anyone involved calls in to hear how the dying part came about, how you feel about the thing and to guarantee you any help you need. This is very sweet, but after half a day you ll be scared to run into anyone new and so tired of telling the story that you ll be considering to type it out & copy it a few 100 times. So you can just hand over the flyer & get the repetitive part over. This sounds rude, I know. But you ll quickly be wondering about a litle peace to get that fabled mourning going. Not yet. There is another side to this however. If nobody called in, you d be wondering if you were alone. If they didnt ask to hear the whole story, you d be thinking them to be heartless, you d be wondering if really Nobody cares. And if somebody you know dies, you ll wonder how it came about. You ll want to know how the person feels now and .. There s not much helping the situation. But its tough & I try to find the middle ground there. A short “what happned”, a “I dont think you feel much like talking now” and a “call me if you do need to talk or whatever”. Oh & after a while, you ll be conforting the people and wondering if they shouldnt be comforting you instead. Thats normal too. (or at least thats how it was for us each time)

Organising the show means sorting out how much this all will cost you. You need to send a letter; but what text & pictures? This was extra dificult in our case because the parents & the children of the deceased person had other plans there. Its a generation thing, but to the Extreme.. Most people I gather will have this in a light version I guess.. Me & my brother were quite on the same track there. Its part one of the potential post burial Family feud..

Next you ll be putting a price on your love. Because in part two, you ll actually be getting rid of the body? (yeah, that wasnt nice, i know) And you need to pay off the priest to come over and talk a bit about what he can say so it ll seem as if he knew the deceased. You also need to rent the church (they dont call it rent, but thats what it is) and pay the coronners people and cars. (The guy that tells you where to do what when and why on the day itself is worth every cent!) And then the expensive part. The flowers.. I actually like those, I like flowers and .. it livens up the thing. So no complaints there. And the coffin.

The coffin is your chance of really putting that price to that love! Its something everything will see and your beloved one will spend his of her “eternity” in. But its also something people will look at for about 2 hours and that will be put into the ground to rot. Because thats what a corpse does. And you ll be paying A LOT for that, thinking mostly about the first part of the argument and trying not to think about the later part!

You got throug the primaries, no time to grief yet, its time for the burrial.

You ll go to that church you rented and see lots of people. This is fun because.. you get to realize a lot of people cared about your relative. The service itself, do nothing for me. Its public time I try to get over with & forget as soon as possible. The colleagues and surprise acts “your person was awsome & will be greatly missed” are nice, but.. thats Really it
It might be different for devout christians though.. I wouldnt know.
You walk to the cemetary and do the roses and handshake thing. Its whats neares to saying goodbye really. And the saying thanks to people is allright too.. But in the end, this whole part is really more for the public. You re giving Them the chance to say goodbye one last time, but it wont be that easy for you..

Next is lunch. This was quite weird to me as there were a lot of people I didnt know. This is because of some family politics that recently turned around. Kinda hard when you re the eldest close blood relative; supposed to somehow know everyone & run the show some.. I d expected my grandfather to do this but he had a stroke some days before & obviously couldnt be there. Leaving me & my brother. With my dad we had my mother and my fathers mother to share that burden. & they did know everyone.

The lunch is the most enjoyable part of the whole ritual, almost fun really

But how do you feel after this is all over? Well, tired & empty. Been talking to too much people and going through the motions. This however turns out to be all public posture, a show for the vilage & those who knew your relative. Its not about grieving, hardly saying goodby and as to my personal opinion.. Id rather skip the whole thing to the dropping a rose on the casket. When it comes to my feelings & my own people, that is. I am well willing to sit through whatever to pay my respects to whomever at whoevers funeral.

This being said, My own funeral.. I’d like to be burnt & scattered, at most some rose tossing near where they deposit the dust. And some place windy please, so I dont keep lying around there for eternety.. Burn me naked with maybe a cheap white sheet around me for easthetical reasons, but No fancy clothes for fucks sake! Nothing needs to be burnt with me, thanks. So; burn me & get everyone to deposit a red rose near where they scattered me. If anyone needs to say something, let them do so, but no paid speakers or whatever. And put some cheery music on to liven the place. But pick something I like as a last effort in vanity 😉 Then go have a nice lunch & have some fun. I realise some monument will need to be erected (to function as grave stone I guess) but dont do that for me, Id as well have none. And if you do; at least make it easthetic with no corny texts or bad photographs.
These are what I’d like, but in the end.. thats Not what matters then; what matters is what my wife, children and friends need at that time; so they might as well just have carte blanche; its not as if I’ll even know. Just dont Korperwelten me; that shit is distastefull 😉

Anyhow.. Shit isnt over after you burry them. Next up is the Inheritance mess, The bill (be prepared, the sum might come as a surprise) and The Tax collector (about the inheritance – although thats changed since my dad died, so that ll be less of a bloodletting that it was for us back then.) So several months later, we can talk about grieving.

Or maybe thats just how long it takes for me to get to it.. The next burrials need to be the proper ones, because I’m tired of the fucked up sequence so far. And I know I’ll have to sit through more of those traditional burrials and I will, if only in respect to the people who died. But it wont do anything for Me.
Anyhow, some might have noticed I didnt mention my mom dying in full before, and thats true. Things take time for me a this post can be considered as such.

Published by Gert


2 thoughts on “The christian burial ritual leaves no space for mourning.

  1. Thumbs up for the open hearted posting!

    A private ritual would be more sensible, but unfortunately grieving people who just lost a loved one are usually in no state to organise all of this privately. So more experienced and less emotionally involved people are hired to do it.


  2. I’m really sorry to say that I have always experienced this in the same way.

    This is actually something I think is cultural. When someone dies, the ones closest to them have to take care of all the arrangements (and there are lots of those in Christian tradition) so there really is no time to grieve.

    This is something that is different in some other cultures where the closest relatives are the ones that are kept aside of the practicalities and even everyday cares like cooking and do get the time to grieve.

    But our culture has too much problems with death and all to really deal with it.


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