Funerals, funerals, funerals. I'm really passionate about funerals. You may think this is a dreary topic, but really it's not. You should love funerals, or at least respect them. So, I'd say, I'm pretty well versed in funeral rituals. I've been to a couple of Lutheran funerals, several Baptist funerals, a Catholic funeral, and read about numerous types of funerals from ancient Egyptian to modern day.
The weirdest funeral I have been to, by far, was the Catholic funeral. So, it was pretty much a week long funeral party. Yes, I call it a party. Actually, it was longer than a week if you consider pre-funeral and pre-death, and I do. I count it, at least an extra four days.
(Cough, cough, cough). First we need a little bit of back story, because I'm going to tell this story like my Uncle Eddie. The saga began on November 6, when my Grandpappy went in for hiatal hernia surgery. Everything was going good after the surgery, until the 9th. And some crazy stuff happened that night onto the morning of the 10th... not going to go into all the details, because yuck. I don't want to hear about it, you don't want to hear about it. If you saw my November life update, then you know about part of this already.
Anyways, for the next almost three months, we had family in and out of our house/town visiting him. We also had Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, my Birthday, my Brother's Birthday, my Grandfather's Birthday, my girl most bookish Cousin's Birthday, two of my Uncles Birthdays, friends birthdays, and my Grandpappy's Birthday, and an Aunt's Birthday. My Grandpappy was in the hospital for 84 days total. Most of those days were spent in ICU. He died on the 28th of January, a Wednesday. His burial was exactly a week later. The Visitation was the Monday after. The funeral was the Tuesday after. There were three dinners that were before the Visitation. I was only well enough to attend two of them... if you can call staying in the same house as one of them attending. I was extremely ill that night, and spent the evening in the bathroom. TMI, TMI, I know.
What made this funeral the most interesting I have every been to was that the services were spread out over three days, and ended an entire week later. I have never attended services that lasted longer than two days, and ending a whole week later is entirely unheard of in my life experience. What was also different was the things they did at the Visitation and the Funeral. I was not able to attend the burial (I was too sick), which was in an entire different state than where I live; which is something I have never experienced before either.
After I found out what was involved in the service, I felt like we needed to rehearse (Yes, things were that complicated!). I had never carried a rose to vase in a funeral before. That was an invigorating experience (laughing hysterically). That really was interesting though. I still don't know why we did that. I made up a reason why we did that when my friend who attended the funeral asked. That was a lie. I should probably go to confession for that. Wait! I'm not Catholic, just my Grandpappy and some other family members. (Sigh. I sigh all the time. Okay, I don't. I just sigh when I'm writing blog posts.) Why did we carry up those roses? I still don't understand.
I would compare my experience going to this Catholic Temple/Church thing to going to another country. There was a lot of culture shock. I know some of the things. Don't think I'm a total idiot about other religions. I know about Holy Water. My brother sneezed in Holy Water the day of the Visitation. I don't think you are supposed to sneeze in Holy Water. One of the things that was highly culture shocking was at the funeral when on of the priests had a metal ball with burning incense on a chain that he swung all around the closed casket with a table runner on it. I have no clue why they did that. I am still in shock about it. If only they were not so secretive, I could just Google and find out why they incensed a casket... So, I just Googled that. I guess they are not so secretive. The burning of the incense symbolizes "the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of the Saints rising to heaven." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thurible) So, at least I know the purpose now. They made a parade out of escorting the casket in and out of rooms. I've never seen that done before. It's kind of fun though.
The reason I don't have a book review, and haven't had a blog post done lately, is that I've either been sick or attending funeral activities. I got sick just three days after my last blog post went up. So, that's been my life lately.