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Young kids and funerals

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I have heard that non-LDS funerals tend to be massively depressing affairs. How sad. A funeral should be a celebration of life as much as a mourning of its end.

 

All the funerals I've attended in my life were non-LDS funerals.  They vary a lot.  The ones in the 21st century are getting more and more upbeat, and are sometimes called a "celebration of the life of ---" instead of a funeral.  Some have video presentations showing the life of the person who passed.

 

But not all.  In my apostate church (the one I joined briefly in the middle of my less-active LDS years) one man became terminally ill at a young age and never overcame the anger phase.  He died a few months later.  At his "celebration of life" service they wheeled in boxes of all the dishes from his kitchen, and people were told to take one dish and go outside and smash it on the sidewalk as a symbol of their anger.  It was fairly expensive china, too, which just added to the surreality of the moment.  

 

But most memorial services are a deeply moving fusion of laughter and tears, which I sometimes think is a single emotion that English has no word for.  

 

Sorry for the losses that everyone in this thread has mentioned, including me.  The first time I spent more than 30 seconds with my father was at his funeral.

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I asked my kids which parts of my dad's funeral they wanted to be involved with. It wasn't much, for any of them. They were basically only present for family prayer (Dad requested a closed casket, so that wasn't an issue) and the grave dedication. 

 

I hate open caskets. I tried not to see my grandma's body at her funeral a few months ago, but accidentally walked into the RS room just after they opened her casket. I understand my dad's sentiments. He didn't want someone to remember his empty shell at a funeral. He wanted to be remembered for who he was as a person.

 

Anyway, as far as the OP, I tend to trust my kids as far as what they feel they're ready for with death and such. If they're too young to ask, they don't need to be a part of it, anyway.

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Thank you for sharing your personal stories. They've given me a lot to think about in the future.

Applepansy, I don't need therapy for that one experience. I've come to terms with the situation long ago, but my personal preference remains that I don't attend funerals - if I can avoid it - and certainly I won't attend a viewing of any kind.

My husband and I are planning on being cremated. I feel very strongly about it. We both don't want viewings held for us, but whatever helps the living move on, I guess.

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My nineteen-year-old daughter's funeral was closed-casket.  (We had no choice due to the damage her beautiful face had received from the car accident).  I had numerous people come to me afterwards who said they had no closure with her death because the funeral was closed-casket.  I guess, to them, being able to see the deceased in the casket brought them closure.  Maybe her death didn't seem real to them because they didn't see her deceased body? My feelings are divided on whether to have a closed-casket or an open-casket. Whatever the family wants, that is okay with me for I believe that funerals are for the living and not for the deceased.

 

There are many views on what is appropriate or not at funerals depending on personalities, culture, and religion.  I'm grateful for my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, so that no matter what type of funeral I'm attending I have the sure knowledge of "who we are", "why we are here", and "where we are going after death."  The death of someone we know and love has a tendency to make us question our standing with God.  And, I think it's good to have that period of questioning within ourselves.  What do I really believe?  Where do I stand with God?  Often times with a funeral our pride is pushed aside, and raw emotion and humility is the result.  Is there really life after death?  If he/she died, when is it my time?  Am I ready to meet my maker?  What have I done with my life that has made this world a better place?  These are all questions that we should be asking ourselves--and I believe not just because of a funeral.

 

With my daughter's funeral the chapel and adjoining cultural hall were full of her friends, neighbors, family, and ward members.  We even had a closed-casket viewing.  This was more to greet family and friends, and allow them the chance to tell us of their love, and give their heart-felt condolences.  The funeral was sad.  Her two-month old son had not been blessed yet, and the blessing was performed after the funeral services, but prior to leaving for the cemetery.  There wasn't a dry eye in the crowd.  At the cemetery, every person who desired was able to put a rose on her casket. (My dear husband had purchased buckets of roses for this, which I hadn't known about.  And, I'm so grateful he did).  At the dedication of her grave, it was blessed as a hallowed place and anyone who came to meditate would be given solace and peace and would feel her spirit.  What a wonderful blessing.  For those who did not attend the dedication, they missed a wonderful opportunity to feel the Spirit and to be touched by the Spirit.  But, I can understand that it might be too difficult for some people.

 

After the cemetery, it was back to the ward building where the wonderful relief society sisters had prepared a meal for over 200 out-of-town family members and friends.  At the luncheon, there was laughter and some teary eyes.  It was wonderful to visit with family members who had driven or flown hundreds of miles to pay their respects.  To me, this is always the best part of a funeral.  (Though, is there really a best part?)  I love talking to family and letting them know of my love for them.  It's a time to catch up and renew family ties.

 

I cry as I type all this.  The grief a parent has over the loss of a child can be overwhelming.  And, the loss and grief never goes away.  It is always there, hidden away in the recesses of my heart.  I may seem normal and composed on the outside, but on the inside I grieve and mourn over her loss.  It's not because I lack faith.  I have faith and testimony, hope and comfort.  It's simply the loss of a child that I loved more than myself, and missing her.  I often think of King David's grief over the loss of his flawed son Absalom.  2 Samuel 18:33  "Oh my son Absalom!  My son, my son Absalom!  If only I had died instead of you--O Absalom, my son, my son!"  And I say the same in my heart: "Oh, my daughter, Rachelle!  My daughter, my daughter Rachelle!  If only I had died instead of you--Oh Rachelle, my daughter, my daughter!"

 

Back to the OP.  I wouldn't deny my young children the opportunity to feel the Spirit, to grieve, and to see the sorrow that death brings into this world.  They also need to know that death is not the end.  They need to learn that there is life after death.  It is a wonderful time to teach Gospel principles.  But, I would not force my children to do something they are uncomfortable with, i.e. kiss the deceased, touch the deceased, etc.  If they are going to see the deceased in the casket, then perhaps just a quick glimpse.  I think we all know our children and what they can and cannot handle.  Follow your parental instincts, and trust those instincts.  Don't second-guess yourself.

Edited by classylady

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My husband and I are planning on being cremated. I feel very strongly about it. We both don't want viewings held for us, but whatever helps the living move on, I guess.

 

I'm with you.  By the way, I recently heard an episode of NPR's Fresh Air that mentioned a new book about cremations.  It has a campy title (Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory), but it was quite interesting and explained the inner workings of the cremation industry.  You could probably Google it to find the podcast of the episode (author is Caitlin Doughty). 

 

The author said there is something called a "witness cremation" where the deceased person's next of kin can attend the cremation and actually push the button to send the remains into the flames.  Not sure I would have the strength to do this.

 

classylady, your post really moved me.  I'm so sorry about the loss of your daughter.  I've heard that the hardest thing in life is being a parent and dealing with the death of a grown child.  But, as you say, death brings much sorrow.  I once knew a man and a women who were both terminally ill.  They met at a clinic or hospital or something, and they married.  The man passed away first, and on his casket the wife had placed seven perfect red roses, one for each month of their very happy marriage.  She passed not long after that.  Carpe diem.

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My younger brother and I were alone with my father's casket (with the funeral home director), and we "pushed the buttons". Honestly, I am not happy that Dad was cremated, and I am not the only one of my siblings to feel that way. But it's what Mom wanted, and we weren't about to tell her to do it differently. Well, maybe one or two were about to tell her, but I think in the end everyone sucked it up. Because really, at that point what are you going to do? And it's Mom's call, not ours.

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My stepfather was cremated and my mom changed her mind a few years after that.  She bought a gravesite from her gambling winnings and buried his cremains with an attractive headstone.  Less work for the gravediggers.

 

But if you go the cremation route, be careful.  A military buddy of mine died in 2003, and I helped his mother clean out his apartment.  His mother had his remains cremated and then flew home to Boston.  The cremation company mailed the ashes back to her, but they were sloppy with the address and the package got lost in the mail.  The mother was inconsolable.  And then, two months later, she came home and found the ashes under her door mat.  My friend always did like dramatic arrivals.  Now I'm crying as I remember him.  

Edited by PolarVortex

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My younger brother and I were alone with my father's casket (with the funeral home director), and we "pushed the buttons". Honestly, I am not happy that Dad was cremated, and I am not the only one of my siblings to feel that way. But it's what Mom wanted, and we weren't about to tell her to do it differently. Well, maybe one or two were about to tell her, but I think in the end everyone sucked it up. Because really, at that point what are you going to do? And it's Mom's call, not ours.

 

Vort, with all sympathies for your loss, and at the risk of being thought insensitive, I'm hoping you'll allow me this privilege to ask... why is it only your Mom's call and not yours as his children?  That position seems so alien to me.

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Vort, with all sympathies for your loss, and at the risk of being thought insensitive, I'm hoping you'll allow me this privilege to ask... why is it only your Mom's call and not yours as his children?  That position seems so alien to me.

 

Because she's Mom. She's Dad's wife. She and Dad made us. The disposal of Dad's earthly remains was her call, and her call only. Pretty sure she knew how we felt, but she felt strongly about the cremation. And in the end, his being her husband trumps his being our father. Her relationship was more fundamental than ours, and her loss more profound.

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Because she's Mom. She's Dad's wife. She and Dad made us. The disposal of Dad's earthly remains was her call, and her call only. Pretty sure she knew how we felt, but she felt strongly about the cremation. And in the end, his being her husband trumps his being our father. Her relationship was more fundamental than ours, and her loss more profound.

 

Okay.  Yeah, this is definitely alien to me.  I'm gonna have to ask my husband if this is also his view.  It might be an American thing.  In Philippine view - the wife doesn't trump the children.  The wife may trump the parents.  But the children has the same fundamentality of relationship as the wife.  This is true even in a society where divorce is illegal - so there's no question on who is the rightful wife.  This question was important to me because I'm debating to get my dad baptized without my mother's consent.

Edited by anatess

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Okay.  Yeah, this is definitely alien to me.  I'm gonna have to ask my husband if this is also his view.  It might be an American thing.  In Philippine view - the wife doesn't trump the children.  The wife may trump the parents.  But the children has the same fundamentality of relationship as the wife.  This is true even in a society where divorce is illegal - so there's no question on who is the rightful wife.  This question was important to me because I'm debating to get my dad baptized without my mother's consent.

 

Can you do that? I guess you can but I thought the proper channels are to consult the surviving next of kin, and the closest, would be his wife, no? I don't know how LDS baptisms for the dead work, though. 

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Can you do that? I guess you can but I thought the proper channels are to consult the surviving next of kin, and the closest, would be his wife, no? I don't know how LDS baptisms for the dead work, though. 

 

When you submit a name for temple work, if the person was born in the last 110 years, you're supposed to have permission for the closest living relative.  "Closest" is defined as 1) spouse, 2) children, 3) parents, 4) siblings. 

 

You're supposed to have permission, however you can lie when you submit the name click the "I have received permission" button anyways.  I think this is highly unethical, but people do do it.

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This question was important to me because I'm debating to get my dad baptized without my mother's consent.

Per the Church's stance, this is not allowed. When my Mom did the work for Daddy, she also did the proxy work for his parents and grandparents as Daddy was the last of the living children. 

 

My husband is doing the Temple work for his Dad, Grandpa's and I am doing the work for the deceased women. Hubby is the eldest living child, and his two brothers are in agreement with the work being done even though they are not LDS. 

 

My little sister submitted the names of our mothers deceased siblings WITHOUT the permission of their living spouse and living children. I saw this on FamilySearch, contacted the Church and finally they have contacted her and told her she has to provide the paper proof that the nearest living relative approves. They have put a block on all of the ones she has submitted.

 

It took me two decades to get this branch of the family to talk to me. My older sisters had alienated Mom's brothers with their over zealousness. My Uncles families are extremely anti-LDS. Not to the point of physical harm, or publicly denouncing us - but if they ever found out what Lil' Sis did, they would hit the media in retaliation against the church.

 

Jane_Doe, I agree with your statement about the I have permission button. Somehow there needs to be a better way. I have asked my Eldest Brother AND his wife for permission to do the work for their son who passed in 2004. Brother says yes, BUT wife says ABSOLUTELY NOT. I choose to listen to my SIL and not do it. I will wait until she passes, then 1 year later do not only my nephews work, but his mothers as well.  

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When you submit a name for temple work, if the person was born in the last 110 years, you're supposed to have permission for the closest living relative.  "Closest" is defined as 1) spouse, 2) children, 3) parents, 4) siblings. 

 

You're supposed to have permission, however you can lie when you submit the name click the "I have received permission" button anyways.  I think this is highly unethical, but people do do it.

 

 

Per the Church's stance, this is not allowed. When my Mom did the work for Daddy, she also did the proxy work for his parents and grandparents as Daddy was the last of the living children. 

 

My husband is doing the Temple work for his Dad, Grandpa's and I am doing the work for the deceased women. Hubby is the eldest living child, and his two brothers are in agreement with the work being done even though they are not LDS. 

 

My little sister submitted the names of our mothers deceased siblings WITHOUT the permission of their living spouse and living children. I saw this on FamilySearch, contacted the Church and finally they have contacted her and told her she has to provide the paper proof that the nearest living relative approves. They have put a block on all of the ones she has submitted.

 

It took me two decades to get this branch of the family to talk to me. My older sisters had alienated Mom's brothers with their over zealousness. My Uncles families are extremely anti-LDS. Not to the point of physical harm, or publicly denouncing us - but if they ever found out what Lil' Sis did, they would hit the media in retaliation against the church.

 

Jane_Doe, I agree with your statement about the I have permission button. Somehow there needs to be a better way. I have asked my Eldest Brother AND his wife for permission to do the work for their son who passed in 2004. Brother says yes, BUT wife says ABSOLUTELY NOT. I choose to listen to my SIL and not do it. I will wait until she passes, then 1 year later do not only my nephews work, but his mothers as well.  

 

Okay, the deceased is my father.  I am the child.  My mother is devout Catholic who sends a carton of eggs to the Carmelite sisters every week to pray for my salvation...  I want my son to baptize my dad.  My stance is that as the direct descendant of my father, I have just as much right to make decisions for my father as my mother.  So, the 1.) spouse, 2.) children is a hierarchical order?

 

When we were kids, we would all play mah-jong and my dad would feed as the tile that we need to improve our hand.  My mom would rag at my dad to stop giving us the tiles and making her lose.  My dad would jokingly reply, "Blood is thicker than water, I'm blood-related to them but not to you."  Anyway, this is said jokingly... but in Filipino culture, material inheritance follows the blood (divorce is illegal) and the wife and children have equal claim - children share the same blood as the father, the wife share the same blood as the children.

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Anatess, I say this with the utmost respect.

 

The Church's stance takes priority over a cultural stance.

 

Also, let's say that you go ahead and have the proxy work done for your father. How much would this hurt your Mother? Wouldn't she feel disrespected by you for doing this knowing how much she does not want you to? Are you the eldest child in the family? If yes, then why not wait a year after your mother passes, then you go with your children and do the proxy work for both of your parents. Baptism, Confirmation, Initiatory, Endowment and Sealing together as husband and wife, and you sealed to them. 

 

The order of who gives permission: Parent, sibling, spouse takes precedent over sibling and parent, eldest living child is at the bottom rung. It is my understanding that within the Church when you marry you become one with your spouse. Since the sealing ceremony is not a written-to-take-away ceremony, one has to do as many couple sealings as is necessary to remember what the Officiator says. But it seems to me that it is along the lines of now you are as one entity in the eyes of the Lord rather as two entities as in the eyes of the land. I had my own sealing, and have only gone to two more. So I am only giving the gist (feeling) of what was said. 

Edited by Iggy

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Anatess, I say this with the utmost respect.

The Church's stance takes priority over a cultural stance.

Also, let's say that you go ahead and have the proxy work done for your father. How much would this hurt your Mother? Wouldn't she feel disrespected by you for doing this knowing how much she does not want you to? Are you the eldest child in the family? If yes, then why not wait a year after your mother passes, then you go with your children and do the proxy work for both of your parents. Baptism, Confirmation, Initiatory, Endowment and Sealing together as husband and wife, and you sealed to them.

The order of who gives permission: Parent, sibling, spouse takes precedent over sibling and parent, eldest living child is at the bottom rung. It is my understanding that within the Church when you marry you become one with your spouse. Since the sealing ceremony is not a written-to-take-away ceremony, one has to do as many couple sealings as is necessary to remember what the Officiator says. But it seems to me that it is along the lines of now you are as one entity in the eyes of the Lord rather as two entities as in the eyes of the land. I had my own sealing, and have only gone to two more. So I am only giving the gist (feeling) of what was said.

I agree that church trumps culture. I just didn't realize the church stance is 1).. 2.) is a hierarchical order.

As far as hurting my mother. We're a close knit family. We fight like cats and dogs when things are important to us. We all follow the family tradition of - I'm going to stand on my principles even if it hurts you if it's that important to me... And that is because we have no doubt about the depth of our love for each other. For example... My mother has a framed photo of all her kids' weddings on the wall except mine... Because my marriage is not recognized by the Catholic Church. And that's just fine...

But yes, I'll talk to my bishop about it.

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I have no foreign (outside the US) funerals to compare, but I have attended the funerals of three grandparents, my father, an aunt, a cousin, and a few others. All have been LDS funerals, and I don't recall any light-heartedness attached to any of them. Though I admit that might depend on what you consider light-heartedness; at my aunt's recent funeral, for example, an uncle (her brother) included some humorous stories about her childhood in his eulogy. Since the funeral was a time to celebrate her life and rejoice that she was among us, even as we mourned her passing, this seemed entirely appropriate.

I bawled like a child when giving a prayer at my father's funeral. I was not feeling smiley when we took pictures later, which is why my current picture looks like I'm scowling. (The larger picture of my wife and children, of which my avatar pic is a crop, features all of them smiling away, with me in the middle looking like my father just died and was being buried on my birthday. Which was true.)

I have heard that non-LDS funerals tend to be massively depressing affairs. How sad. A funeral should be a celebration of life as much as a mourning of its end.

The first funeral I attended here had a photographer, and people were smiling and posing for photos, including the daughters of the lady that the funeral was for. Many of these daughters were in their very early to mid 20's, so still young. I don't recall a single tear except from the husband.

I thought the fact that photos were being taken was odd - I'd normally associate this with a more exhilarating event.

The second funeral was largely the same.

I don't have enough experience to know if this is common, but it certainly felt closer to a celebration of life than mourning of a death that I'm accustomed to. After I got over the initial surprise, I actually preferred it.

Edited by Mahone

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I dunno. I think it's easy to look at how others do things and think...what the heck? But as it's been said before, the funeral is for the living, and to help them process what's happened and to move on. For some people and families, that's being able to cry and mourn - for others - that's being able to laugh and celebrate a life remembered. I don't think either is wrong, perhaps strange, yes depending on what I'm accustomed to.

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