I Don’t Know The Deadiquette.

Posted by admin on June 17, 2011 in Life Lessons |

A recent scare with my mother set my mind in motion recently. Not to worry, she’s all right. But some day I will get the call that I have been dreading for years and I will have to deal with the fact that she is no longer with us. Thankfully, we’ve already had that talk and I know that I won’t be going to her funeral. That is her request, not mine. And I will honor it. I guess she figures my ex-brothers and I would just end up in fisticuffs in a donnybrook and she would never rest in peace. Can’t say that I blame her.

Unfortunately, all this passing away thing is part of our life, especially as we grow older. I have lost two people close to me… you can’t get much closer than a brother (when I was 14) and father, when I was 23. That’s a lot of loss to deal with early on. We’ve never been a family to do the funeral thing, so we would just have a short church ceremony and then go home, pop the keg, eat and drink and talk about how lucky we were to know these people even for such a short time.

I admit that I have been sheltered in this respect. I have been to only three other funerals. The first was my grandfather’s where my grandmother tried to jump into the casket she was so grief stricken. I attended the funeral of a stillborn relative once. That was sad. And then I had to carry a dead guy in a coffin, the first and only time I will be a pallbearer.

It was there that I first learned of deadiquette. The funeral director instructed us all on how to handle the casket. I don’t remember the exact rules of engagement, but I do remember clearly that one of the instructions was that we not look into the hearse as we’ll handling the casket.

As anyone knows, you don’t want to tell me not to do something. I would have never thought about looking in the hearse, but I had to, if only because he told me not to. I didn’t see the hand of God pushing on the other end or anything. Actually that would have been a big help. I don’t really know what the big deal was. Perhaps the funeral director had a girlfriend in the car. I just don’t know.

Getting older, I now realize that these moments will only grow more frequent in my life. I am very firm that I don’t do funerals, at least of people I’ve only known casually in life. My mom is off the table as we’ve already covered and my brothers haven’t talked to me in 30 years, so I won’t be worrying about their funerals either, if in fact they go before I do.

Me, I don’t care what they do with me when I finally check out, so no one has to worry about a funeral to say goodbye to me. Just hoist a drink in the direction of Florida (or Fort Pierce if you’re already in Florida) and say ‘It was a good adventure.’ That seems to be a good farewell for a writer who has finally written his last chapter and with a gravestone epitaph that says, “The End.”

But the gray area came up this morning when I thought one of my ex-whatevers might be dead. I wondered what the deadiquette of that would be.

Do you attend the funeral of someone you were married to once? I would imagine the answer is yes, if you had children together. If you didn’t, however, I’m not sure. Say you were only married to them for two years and they bought the farm. Would you go to that funeral but not an ex-whatever that you were with for three years and liked much better?

Where do you draw the line? If you open it up the non-married-to ex-whatevers, at which point do you not go to their funeral? Do you determine it by how your broke up or whether they were good in bed? And if the latter was the case, it’s a whole new can of worms because then you have to wonder if you’re supposed to go to the funeral of everyone you’ve ever slept with, including casual sex.

By then you’re going to be going to a lot of funerals. I would think that if any of them have remarried and no children are involved, you probably shouldn’t go, even though it would be fun to stir up the pot a little with your presence. People will be forgetting their grief momentarily to gossip about why you’re at the funeral. They may even infer that there was still something going on between the two of you.

I know I probably won’t be able to resist going in a couple of cases. I will come dressed in my full pirate regalia, rum bottle in hand. I will usher the ex-whatever out of this world dressed as I was when they first brought me into theirs. I will saunter up to the open casket, look down upon my newly departed ex and say boisterously, “Well darling, the last time I saw you like this we were on our honeymoon.”

O.K, so that’s stretching the truth a bit. It was every night we were together. But hey, it’s a funeral. Why bring up the past?

Out on the Treasure Coast, still among the living (for now),

– Robb

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