Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Respect in Death

Last week, a dear co-worker of mine passed away suddenly.

It wasn't until after the fact that I even realized he was in his 70s. That's how much it never occurred to me that he might be nearing the end. His girlfriend (lady friend?) also works with us. And for that reason, mostly, I decided to attend his funeral. I was glad to have about 10 other co-workers attend with me, so I didn't feel totally out of place.

Death is never an easy thing. Especially to someone you know personally. Thankfully, the last 2 funerals I have been to, have not been for a dear friend or close family member. That's not to discount the grieving. Or my sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the people who passed. When the MIL's man-friend passed in December, I barely knew him. So it was basically a funeral of a stranger. I expected this most recent one to be a bit more hard-hitting. Especially when the family walked in and the woman I knew almost fell to her knees sobbing at his casket. It was a tender, true, and heart-wrenching moment.

I had never been to a black funeral before. It wasn't all that different from any other I had been to before, minus the clapping after someone sang and the chorus of "Amen"s from the attendees when the preacher would say something they thought profound. The service was, overall, nice. But I guess my issues stem from some of the attendees (whom I thought were disrespectful) and from the preacher (whom I also thought was very disrespectful.)

I suppose I should elaborate?

It's hard to go anywhere in this world without judging others. And I truly try my best not to, especially just for sport, but when there is a glaring offense, I can't ignore it. Now, I'm not saying you need to wear your Sunday best to a funeral (I had on a blouse and dress pants) but I also think you should show a little bit of respect and dress, I don't know, presentably? Never mind the lady who had pink, orange, and purple hair. I could look past that, actually, because she was dressed appropriately. What I couldn't get over? The teenage boys who were all in jeans, t-shirts, and Air Jordans. When my grandfather passed away, had my male cousins been dressed that way, they would have never made it out of the driveway! And then... my biggest issue... were the young women, some teenagers, some in their mid-20s, who were dressed like they were going to a club. Seriously... low cut shirts, hooker heels, and skin tight leggings, with their ass basically out for everyone to see. C'mon. I know you've got some church clothes SOMEWHERE!

Now, my issue with the preacher. As a speaker, he was articulate and made some good points. But there was never ANY discussion about the person who had passed. No real personal mentions or touches about his life. I literally sat through an hour long sermon about how we're all on our way to our "homecoming" and how we need to accept Jesus as our savior. He actually had the balls to say, "It's too late for Joe to accept Jesus as his savior, if he didn't already." WHAT THE BLEEP?!?!?! I'm sorry, but if I had been a family member and the preacher at the funeral said something that offensive, I probably would have stood up and taken the microphone away from him. I understood the overall point... get ready to die, this life is temporary, we all go on to a better life at the end. OK... fine. Put a little bit of that in there and move on. Talk about how much he loved his children and his grandchildren. Talk about his favorite things to do. Talk about his love of Redskins football. But, for the love of Troy Aikman, don't tell the family, basically, that Joe might be going to Hell if he didn't accept Jesus in time. Idiot.

Oh yeah... last minute addition here, that I had completely forgotten... but the preacher waited at the end of the line when friends were greeting the family after the service, so he could hand out business cards to his BBQ restaurant. Yes, seriously. Because the 3 mentions of the restaurant (complete with address) in the middle of his speech during the funeral wasn't enough. Double idiot.

It does sting a little bit that I won't get to see Joe anymore at work on long days. I won't have him to rag on about his poor football choices. He was a good, hard-working man, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and close friends. There were about 8 people there from his high school class of 1958. I can only dream of being so blessed that my high school friends will stick around that long and come to my funeral someday. I just politely request they don't wear booty shorts or see-thru shirts. And since I don't like BBQ, please find a preacher with a pizza joint to promote during the service.

Is that too much to ask?

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