The first funeral I attended was my great-grandmother’s. I was about three or four and all I can kind of remember is having to stand on my tip-toes to see into the casket. I didn’t see another dead body until I was twelve. This was at my cousin’s funeral. Even that is a blur. A few years later, I had to look at the body of my godfather. Sadly, I’ve also seen: siblings and parents of my friends, kids I went to grade school with, a girl I carpooled with in high school, and most recently- my former employer.
Regardless of whose funerals I’ve sadly attended, I’ve always found one significant concept confusing- the bodies.
I have never understood why you would want your dead loved one creepily exposed, open-casket style. I thank those of you who choose cremation. Of course, this is a personal opinion, but I’m not a fan of looking at an unfamiliar manipulation of the beautiful person I used to know.
Dead bodies can NEVER look like the wonderful living and breathing souls that once filled them. So why are we trying? I’d rather look at pictures of real memories than make a disturbing one of saying goodbye to an empty body. Maybe it’s a twisted addition to the surreal environment of suddenly losing someone. But to me, dead bodies are too plump and covered in ridiculous amounts of make-up.
No disrespect to people who need to say goodbye this way, but I personally feel pretty darn awkward walking up to open caskets. How long do I stand there? What do I focus my eyes on so I (1. don’t break down or (2. feel bad about letting my mind wander.
I believe that when someone dies, their soul leaves their body. That means I can talk to them from anywhere in the room… anywhere in the world, actually. I don’t have to say goodbye to the corpse in the box. It feels too forced and fake.
“Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God, to God the Most High.”