Monday, August 06, 2007

A Hot Day

I did the funeral in the funeral home today. The deceased was a 10 week old girl whom I had known on the CICU. It went reasonably smoothly; even the ten year old cousin who was to sing did a good job. Got a lot of positive comments from the family who really appreciated my homily.

Then we caravanned over to the cemetery for the interment. My prayers were short, about seven minutes, but the family decided to wait to watch the baby's casket be lowered into the grave, then put roses on it. Took a long time. It was 98 degrees out. I had on a black knit dress. I thought I was going to pass out with the heat.

It was a long day, but I think I did a good job and it was a comfort to the family.

So what's a little heat?


the reverend mommy said...

It's a hard thing.
Been thinking about you all summer.
Blessings be on you.

Kathryn said...

Well done. I have still to do my first baby or child funeral - there has only been one since I've been here - so I can't really imagine how hard it must be.
I'm intrigued as to how the burial took so long, though...The lowering part takes at best the "dust to dust, ashes to ashes" prayer of committal...the family throws in dust or flowers and the gravedigger

Kathryn said...

whoops...interrupted and pressed send without thinking...
that should read "And the gravedigger comes along only when the last mourner has departed, and fills in the grave".
Not that this mattered hugely...I was just interested. Sorry to go on so ;-)

mibi52 said...

It wasn't quite what I was used to, Kathryn. We did the prayers at teh graveside. I had thought to ask ahead about whether real dirt would be available for the "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" there was a pail of dirt with a shovel in it alongside the graveside, which was covered with Astro_turf. I reached down and grabbed some at that point in the prayers and put it on the tiny coffin, which was on a table (also covered with Astro-Turf). At the completion of the prayers, the funeral director asked the family if they wanted to stay for the lowering (here in the States, different folks want to stay or leave). They said they wanted to stay. So the coffin was held while they removed the table and the Astroturf, the hole was exposed, and the coffin was lowered. Then the family distributed the roses and everyone took turns dropping the rose on the coffin. The mother went last, and it took her a long time to step away from the graveside. Fortunately, no one rushed her. Then the family slowly wandered away to their cars, at which point the gravediggers filled in the hole.

I would have preferred the family to throw dirt on the coffin instead of roses, given the power of the theological symbol, and I sure would have preferred no Astro-Turf, but we deal the hand we've been given...

It taught me a bit about finding out the usual practices of the funeral director and the cemetery.