Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weekend update

It really was a lovely day yesterday, weatherwise. Perhaps gloomy skies would have been more appropriate for a funeral service. I don't know. This is the church where the service was held. I got roped into helping the preacher read a prayer and passing around the collection plate. This was probably good since I focused on that instead of getting weepy like all those around me.

I do see the value of having a service. It brings a sense of closure, lets loved ones share their grief together and lets us celebrate the life of someone beloved. Afterward, twenty or so people came over to our house to nosh and sip out on the patio and share fun stories of Jacques. The funeral home gives you a bill after the service. Later when I read it, I couldn't believe what a racket it is. There was $850 for professional services, then $300 each for coordination of services, supervision of services and aftercare services. What's the $850 for again? We spent all of an hour with them, oh sure it was a good, productive hour, but I think that part totaled $1950, less than half the total cost. Nobody really feels like shopping around when someone has just died and I guess they take advantage of that.

In the evening, we went to Sean and Jeffrey's meet and greet at Eric and Danny's house. Oddly it was right around the corner from where the service was held. The weather turned pretty chilly so we stayed inside and had cosmos, burgers, sausages and salad. It was a nice way to let go of the events of the day and be distracted for a while. Plus I ate something new.

Saskatoon berry pie! Also known as serviceberry or juneberry, it tasted much like blueberry with a little extra something mixed in. Quite tasty. Yesterday at one point I looked at Serge and asked, "We don't have to do anything tomorrow, do we?" I was so happy when he said no. A whole day ahead with nothing to do. Heaven.


Birdie said...

Even though you spent the day with family and friends, I know it had to be emotionally tiring. A day off is just what is called for. Hugs to you both.

Rox said...

I say that a sunny day for a funeral is kind of like having rain on your wedding day. It's just proof that life (and love) goes on.

The bill is always a final kick to the ass isn't it?

I have a giant Saskatoon bush in the yard that again, I did nothing with this year. Next year though? Pie. Get me the recipe! :o) Enjoy your free day!

CoffeeDog said...

Been rainy dark and gray here for the last week +

Glad you had the diversions at the end of the day to keep you occupied.

GayProf said...

As I get older, I do understand why organized rituals play such an important role in people's lives.

Yum to the pie.

Java said...

The pie looks delicious. I've never heard of the Saskatoon berry, but I do love blueberries, so I'd probably like it.

I'm with GayProf on the organized ritual thing. It pisses me off, though, how the funeral business runs its gouging racket.

What fun to meet Sean and co. I've only recently discovered Eric, and I think he's adorable in a big bearish way. I'm kinda jealous that you got to meet them.

Lemuel said...

The thing that surprised me most was your mention of passing a collection plate at the funeral. I've never had that experience.
I will agree that the funeral industry is a racket. Years ago there was an expose written called "the American Way of Death". I do not think much has changed.

anne marie in philly said...

pass me the pie please...then you can pass me some sean!

take time to chill tomorrow and decompress.

Mel said...

I want to plant a hedgerow of serviceberry and native plums. The challenge, of course, is managing to harvest enough of them before the birds eat them all.

Ceremony and ritual is important to help bond people with shared experience and, in this case, to give people a chance to share their grief and their memories. When my grandfather passed away, we had a brief ceremony at the funeral home and then a few words at graveside - nothing churchy, but it gave us a chance to share our memories of his life. The following year we had a little graveside memorial service so that the family members who hadn't been able to come to the funeral also had a chance to share their memories. It was necessary, and it was also comforting.

Anonymous said...

Hey there, it was great meet you at dinner last night, and so pleased you liked the pie. It's just unfortunate that the group photo that Sean had planned and hoped for didnt come together, but that means we'll have to all get together again sometime if for no other reason... Glad you were all able to make it last night and I was sorry to hear about the passing of Serge's father. The comfort of family and friends are important, and it seems that you were surrounded by caring people yesterday. David

dykewife said...

i prefer saskatoon berries to domesticated blue berries. we had one in the back yard of one of the places we rented. it made me realize that i want one in the back yard of the place i'll hopefully own.

my dad has made all the arrangements for his own services and has paid for everything already. all the arrangements around taking care of his will are done. now we can all not worry about that and take joy in being with each other. that's what we did today. i got a surprise visit from my dad and my oldest brother. it was nice.

i was very grateful for the time i got to spend with them.

Patrick said...

Yes, I see the value in rituals as well, especially when dealing with huge, archetypal issues that we don't really understand in the first place. Just gathering with others to remember a loved one, and admit to each other 'we don't understand all this,' is valuable. The way funeral homes take advantage of people in this situation makes my blood boil though. It is a racket, no two ways about it. They know you'll be barely functional, possibly guilt-ridden, and they charge you through the nose.
I hope you enjoy your day off. There will be some emotional ambushes of course, but I'm glad you two have each other.

Patricia said...

I'm glad you had tasks to keep you distracted a bit. I hope yesterday was a relaxing break for both of you.

Even though the service and days leading up to it are hard, there are still hard days ahead when the grief comes out of the blue. I continue to hold Serge and you in my prayers.


Thom said...

Hey, there's Sean!!!