I mentioned a week or so ago that my grandmother passed away. She was 99 and had a very full, wonderful life which was for the most part sickness free until the very end. What follows is a personal story and I understand if you have no need to read further.
She was cremated after she died.
Yesterday we had the memorial service. It was at the Lutheran church that she always attended and pretty much the whole town was there. It is a small town in northwest Wisconsin – everyone knows everyone in tiny places like that. Being part of the immediate family I had to stand in a greeting line that welcomed people as they arrived. The greeting line was my father, mother, sister, myself, my wife and my two children, ages ten and six.
The service was the standard fare – a few singers, the obituary being read, the pastor with a small sermon, and several religious rites. Of course I got emotional during the service, as we all did. Tears were shed. At the end, a waltz was played at the request of my grandmother, so she could, in her words, waltz her way to heaven. The urn, which was at the front of the church during the service, was then escorted out with the family following, and then the guests. Afterward, lunch was served in the church.
After the lunch, the family went to my grandmothers house to go through her personal things to claim anything that we wanted, with the rest being donated for sale to the church that she loved. To be frank, it sucked. But I did get some interesting historical artifacts, some of which I may post about here in the future. Most importantly I got most of the family photos and other historical records.
We drove home yesterday and stopped for dinner in the Dells. While we were eating my ten year old daughter asked me a question that I did not have a good answer for.
Why Did We Just Do That?
She went on to explain that she loved her Nanni, and that she wanted to remember happy things, not have a bad taste in her mouth from a memorial service. I had to agree, but went on to explain that there were a lot of people who wanted to show their respects, and to perhaps hear some words from the Pastor as well. And that the people who attended wanted to say some words and share stories with us to try to make us feel better.
I disliked the service as well. I guess I don’t have a good answer to my daughter’s question. Do you?
As an aside, the Apostles Creed was read during the service and in it was a line that said “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church”. I was surprised to hear that in a Lutheran church, but maybe one of our commenters could clear that up for me.