new experiences

Today, I visited a wake in a funeral home for the first time in my life. I’ve been to one funeral before since I came to Canada, but no wake. I have been curious about this, because it’s all so different from Sweden. There aren’t any funeral homes there, and not this whole concept with two-steps; wake and funeral — there’s only the funeral in a church or chapel. I was an avid watcher of the TV-show Sopranos, so I got to see many funerals homes, but that’s not the same as experience it in real life.

What was strikingly different to me, was that the body was exposed … open casket! Even though I knew beforehand that that might be the case, it felt very strange. At least when I was growing up … I don’t know if that has changed now … the approach to dead bodies was very different, and definitely not for children to see! I even remember discussions whether children should go to funerals! I was twelve the first time, but I don’t remember that the question had occurred before that. In any event, it was almost like a dead body was something eerie or spooky. I know now, that at least when a person dies in hospital, the family gathers afterwards to say their farewells, but this happens right after the moment the person died.

This wake we went to today … the lady who’d died was 103, and an old friend of Gerry’s family — she was even the brides maid on his parents’ wedding — I had no personal, emotional involvement. It was rather a ‘pleasant’ occasion. People were mingling and chatting away …the place itself was beautiful! Tomorrow morning is the funeral, and it’s in the same church as the first funeral I went to here, a couple of years ago.

It snowed most all day today … it had started overnight so it was all white when I got up! One of the Easter lilies had a droplet hanging from the stamen so I decided to do some little photo experiment before we were going out. The lighting was difficult and I couldn’t move it, as the droplet would probably fall down, but this is what came out of it.

20 Replies to “new experiences”

  1. Funeral’s are not my favorite place to be. I’ve attended a few in my time; some open casket and some cremations. The cremations seem weird to me, with no body or casket in sight. Usually, the cremations have an urn and photographs of the deceased.

  2. Our funerals are almost always like that. We don’t call it a wake. Here it is visitation. The announcement will say the family is present from 7pm to 8pm or whatever. Visitation might be from 5pm to 9pm though. Although there may be family there the entire time but for sure between 7 and 8. People come and go. At the end, there is a prayer. Usually it is an open casket unless the family or deceased does not want that. Or the deceased was in a horrible accident or incredibly ill. If the family did not attend a church, the funeral might be in the funeral home. Otherwise, it is in the church. I very much prefer that the burial happen before the service. All that is over. And you do not have to look at the casket during the service. There is almost always a lunch served after the service. Usually served by the ladies of the church. Or, if the family does not belong to a church, a dinner somewhere for family and friends.

    We have had beautiful weather. Perfect temps and some rain. Love it. Wish it would stay. Ha.

    1. Hi and thanks! Interesting!
      They DO say ‘visitation’ here too, most of the time, now that I think of it..

  3. I guess funerals are different the world over, depending on the customs of the country. Here in Australia it’s pretty much like Canada – the body lies in an open casket for those who want to view it to say their last goodbyes, and the full funeral service is held the day after.
    My friend lost her 14 year old daughter in a fire and my son and I both chose to go and say our last goodbyes to her. They had grown up together and were very close. My son was 17 at the time. It was very emotional as we sat there saying farewell to someone we had both loved very much, but it was something we both felt we needed to do.
    The photo of the lily is beautiful, you captured the droplet very well.

    1. Thank you, Barb, about the lily…. That must have been tough emotionally. How extremely sad. I think it’s a good thing to do, though… if for nothing else, so ones own mind.

  4. Hi,
    I have been to too many funerals in my life unfortunately, so very sad when we lose someone close, what barb19 has said about the funerals in Australia is spot on, at the funeral itself you can also have an open casket if you wish, and then after the main funeral it is customary to have a wake, either at the chapel if it has the facilities or at someones home.

    I love how you captured the drop on the lily before it disappeared, well done.

    1. Mags,
      Me too, have been to way too many funerals. It’s interesting to hear what it’s like elsewhere. Back home, there’s usually a dinner after the ceremony …or sometimes, just coffee, but a get-together of some sort.

  5. I have a huge phobia regarding funerals. I went to one 10 years ago for a very young friend of my sister’s and it was open casket. Totally freaked me out and I have yet to recover. I am not looking forward to the next one I have to attend.

    1. Oh, I’m so sorry, C.B. To me, it felt really weird, but it wasn’t traumatic or anything like that. Like I said, the lady was 103 and I was well prepared it might be open casket. Hope we won’t have to attend any more in the foreseeable future.

  6. Beautiful photo of the lily and droplet. After having had so many funerals in the family, we have chosen to have graveside services only which means folk gather around the gravesite, the pastor reads a short scripture, says a few words and a prayer and it is over. Lunch is always served in the church by the ladies of the church.
    This works for us. Other funerals I have attended have had the wake the day before and the funeral the next day; or the visitation right before the funeral. I try to go late and leave early having said my goodbyes in my head and heart at home.

    1. Thank you … I tried many times with that photo. That sounds like a good concept too, about the graveside. It’s interesting to hear about the different customs.

      1. Yes, I enjoyed reading about other customs at funerals. As I often say, we all know that our time will come so what would we want? So, I am trying to write my wishes down now.

        1. I must do that too … write it down. I’ve told Gerry and my family back home, but I really should write it down.

    1. Thank you! it was kind of a dumb experiment as I had all the light coming in through the window, and I couldn’t move the flower..

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