Monday, September 17, 2007

I hate Visitations and Funerals

(props to nightmare and frog pj's for making the memorial stickers above)

I really do. They seem so morbid. Someone you cared about has died. Why do we need to see them lying there being dead? We are being voyeuristic while they are at their most vulnerable. It just feels wrong.

Plus, I never, ever know what to say to the loved ones. I'm sorry for your loss? That seems so lame and cliche, and they've already heard that 100 fucking times, and they are a WHOLE LOT sorrier for their loss than I can ever be.

Me telling them how bad I feel seems a lot like someone with a papercut telling a terminal cancer patient how bad the cut stings.

But there is a reason that humans have been honoring their dead and having these services since Neanderthal days. Seeing the person, having the visitation, makes it real.

Nope, it's not just a mistake that will be corrected or a false rumor.

That's him. There he is.

It forces you to come to terms with it and deal with your emotions. The benefit is that you are all dealing with your emotions together, with other people who share the loss (to greater or lesser degrees).

I hope that Greg's family and close friends took some small comfort from seeing how many people's lives he touched. There were many more from all over the country and the world who couldn't be there but sent condolences.

I remember when I was 17 and my grampa died. To me, he was just "Pawie". I knew he'd served in WWI.

I knew he had been a policeman and detective in Coffeyville, KS back in the 30's.

But when we were riding in the car from the funeral home to the graveyard, it blew me away to look out the back window and see headlights stretching off to the horizon. I had no fucking idea.

It's important for the family to know that their loved one was loved by others and made a difference in peoples lives.

That's why we do these things.

Many of the bloggers convened at Harry's down in the River Market (where some of us met Greg for the first time) after the visitation to share a "Beam & Coke" together.

It was comforting to be among friends. Spyder, Dan, Nightmare, TEC, Sponge, Kato, Janet, Keith, File, Toast...

Just before heading out, I offered up a toast. It was totally plagerized from a comment left on Greg's blog which was, in turn, a paraphrased quote from City Slickers.

"Lord! We give you Greg Beck. Try not to piss him off."

I was originally going to propose the toast
"Let the Heavenly Hunt for Angel Titties Begin!"
but by that time KC Sponge was there with her adorable young daughter so talk about angel titties seemed inappropriate.

Even to me.


KC Sponge said...

Oh, Elle likes boobies as much as the next person . . . didn't think it would be so easy to censor you. =D

Thanks for the kind thought . . . and the great toast.

Is Thursday a good day for a pre-sale for you?

Eolaí gan Fhéile said...

6 hour time difference notwithstanding, my thoughts were there - and I'm glad that you all were.

Xavier Onassis said...

sponge - I'm sure Thursday will work. Email me at and I will email you back the details.

JW said...

You tell the family how much you admired Greg and that you are grateful for the opportunity to know him.

satyavati said...

Being around at these kinds of times is an occupational hazard for me. Sometimes 'I don't even know what I could say to you besides I'm sorry' is about all I can come up with. But I tend to think that people aren't interested in how it's worded so much as they're interested to know you care.

It's different when it's family (and he was family) but the same kind of principle remains.

And yes, you never realize things.. at my Daddy's funeral I was stunned to see all the uniforms, and to find out that officers had come all the way from Fort Macon. It really opens your eyes, and makes a difference to see what an impact someone had.

Like that Jimmy Stewart movie you loved.

crse said...

Because of the major component of grief involved in long term chronic diagnoses, all those in my position are required to have a master's in counseling and are trained to specialize in the area of grief management. Having said that? One of the most helpful things that i find myself saying is "this just really really sucks and Im so sorry." or something equally reflective of the situation. I have something that might be helpful and is timely for other people in my life right now that i think I will blog because its too long. And XO, it does suck. Im glad you were able to be part of showing his family how much he meant to folks.