You don't want to be like the motion picture exec who had so many people at his funeral, but they were there just make sure he was dead. Or how about the guy who, at his funeral, the priest said, "Won't anyone stand up and say anything nice for the deceased?" and finally someone said, "Well, his brother was worse."
The Romans feared their dead. In fact, Roman funeral customs derived from a need to propitiate the sensibilities of the departed. The very word funus may be translated as dead body, funeral ceremony, or murder. There was a genuine concern that, if not treated appropriately, the spirits of the dead, or manes, would return to wreak revenge
I built a cannon out of ice, and wrapped myself in the funeral carpet which my husbands and wives had woven for me out of their own hair, and one of my wives was my gunner. I came back here, after many adventures, and once, when I'd been drinking, donated the funeral carpet to the national museum. When I was sober again, I asked for it back, but they claimed not to know what I was talking about.
Visit the Navy-Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts, -a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing, and already, as one may say, buried under arms with funeral accompaniments, though it may be, - "Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, As his corse to the rampart were hurried; Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot, O'er the grave where our hero we buried.
Henry David Thoreau
Death is a personal matter, arousing sorrow, despair, fervor, or dry-hearted philosophy. Funerals, on the other hand, are social functions. Imagine going to a funeral without first polishing the automobile. Imagine standing at a graveside not dressed in your best dark suit and your best black shoes, polished delightfully. Imagine sending flowers to a funeral with no attached card to prove you had done the correct thing. In no social institution is the codified ritual of behavior more rigid than in funerals. Imagine the indignation if the minister altered his sermon or experimented with facial expression. Consider the shock if, at the funeral parlors, any chairs were used but those little folding yellow torture chairs with the hard seats. No, dying, a man may be loved, hated, mourned, missed; but once dead he becomes the chief ornament of a complicated and formal social celebration.
When it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing. And so, laughing and crying, we said good-bye to my grandmother. And when we said goodbye to one grandmother, we said good-bye to all of them. Each funeral was a funeral for all of us. We lived and died together. All of us laughed when they lowered my grandmother into the ground. And all of us laughed when they covered her with dirt. And all of us laughed as we walked and drove and rode our way back to our lonely, lonely houses.
Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it... We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be 'healing.' A Certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to 'get through it, ' rise to the occasion, exhibit the 'strength' that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.
Vasco bought a bottle of vodka to celebrate and they drank it in the old sailors' graveyard in Mangrove South. This was where the funeral business had first put down its roots. Over the wall, between two warehouses, Jed could just make out the Witch's Fingers, four long talons of sand that lay in the mouth of the river. Rumour had it that, on stormy nights a century ago, they used to reach out, gouge holes in passing ships, and drag them down. Hundreds of wrecks lay buried in that glistening silt. The city's black heart had beaten strongly even then. There was one funeral director, supposedly, who used to put lamps out on the Fingers and lure ships to their doom.
POP UP AT YOUR FUNERAL SHIRTLESS AND SPIT ON YOUR HEARSE BITCH, THE WORST IS NIGGA YOU WORTHLESS BETTER OFF DEAD, SO YOU LAYING IN DIRT DEAVES I'M BETTER OFF DEAD CAUSE ZOMBIES EMERGING SOON THE IDEOLOGY WILL BE FULL SURFACE AND I WON'T HAVE TO GO BACK TO SNATCHING PURSES AND YAPPING URKELS SEMI AUTOMATIC LEAVE THE FUNERAL SERVICE MOTHER WITH RUNNING MASCARA CLUTCHING THE HEARSES DARK NIGGA BUT I NEVER WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE? HOPEFULLY ON THE CROSSROADS YOU LEARN IT THAT'S IF YOU EARN IT, THAT'S FOR CERTAIN MONEY ON MY MIND, MARIJUANA MY TASTE BUDS YOUNG BLACK AND DEPRIVED SO THE WORLD I SHAKE UP WHO'S YOUR MAKER, LOOK ME IN MY EYES NIGGA MEET YOUR MAKER, MEECH YOUR MAKE