Saturday, March 02, 2013

Funerals and Family

There is always an element of sadness to a funeral because someone who was special to you in some way is now absent from this life. But funerals also serve the purpose of bringing old friends and distant family together, sometimes after many years of separation.

Lil's funeral was last Wednesday. The weather forecast was not good for the day of the visitation or for the funeral the next day, so Doug and I decided to drive to the small town where Doug's brother, Dennis, lives...about an hour away from us and about a half hour from the smaller town where the funeral was to be...and spend the night in a hotel there. That way, Dennis could ride with us to the funeral home.

We had freezing rain Tuesday morning. By the time we left home in the early afternoon, all the trees and bushes and fences were coated with a heavy layer of ice. Fortunately, though, the roads were okay.

When we left the hotel to go out for an early supper with Dennis, the snow had begun falling. The wet snow quickly decorated everything it touched with it's beautiful whiteness. But it kept many people at home who might otherwise have come to the visitation time.

By Wednesday, the day of the funeral, there was an accumulation of four or five inches of snow on the ground; the temperature was a degree above freezing; the wind was calm; and the snow was still falling. The final service at the graveside couldn't have had a more beautiful setting.

I didn't think it would be appropriate to whip my camera out and start taking pictures at the cemetery, but I did snap a few through the windshield on the way to the funeral home that morning.




Doug's sister, Linda, and her husband, Larry, live about 750 miles (1200 km) from us, so we rarely see them. They had come back to their hometown for Lil's funeral and were staying there for several days. So we picked up Dennis yesterday and met Linda and Larry at a restaurant for supper.

Left to right: Me, Doug, Linda, Larry, and Dennis

After our meal, we went back to the hotel where Linda and Larry were staying; and the three siblings went through a box of old family photographs and memorabilia that had been stored in Lil's house until a few months ago, when she moved into an assisted living facility.

Dennis, Larry, Linda, and Doug

Doug, Linda, and Dennis hadn't all been together since their dad's death in 2001; and, even then, there hadn't been much "together" time. I'm glad we were able to spend those few hours together last night. Who knows if or when there will be another opportunity. Family is special. Sometimes we forget that.


  1. even though they may be sad, funerals provide closure, to a degree - or maybe permission to grieve. glad you got to spend some family time.

  2. Family should never be forgotten or taken for granted. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. The scenes are gorgeous.Even with the sadness of a loved one passing on,it is good to know there are happy times as well.

  4. So true. When I was young, I used to think it pleasant but odd that family could laugh and feel joy after burying a loved one. It's all a part of the process of family and closure. And appreciation of life.

    Beautiful photography. Of course I agree that it wouldn't have been right to pull out the camera but I bet they would have been incredible pics. Sometimes those mental snapshots are the best ones we take.

  5. It was good to see Doug's family and prayed for all of you last week. Thanks for sharing. Glad the roads weren't too bad, but the trees were stunning.

  6. Beautiful images of the snow, Linda! Glad you had special time with family, especially since it's so rare that you see them. From the pictures everyone seems happy to be together, although there was a level of sadness at Lil's passing. Death does remind us to celebrate life and appreciate those who are still with us. God bless.

  7. Linda, the trees look beautiful. You were lucky that the roads weren't icy, I'm so glad you made it safe and sound. So many accidents happen in such weather. And it's surely good you enjoyed the family reunion, though the circumstances were sad.

    When I was present at the funeral of my husband's grandma a few years ago, photos were taken by a hired photographer in the course of the funeral, photos of the people gathered in the crematorium hall. There were many people sitting on chairs, the coffin displayed on a stage in front of them which was covered with flowers. I was really surprised when we got the photos from my mother-in-law because I had never met such service. There are different habits even in one country, right? And to be frank, I'm not quite sure I like the photos. They are so sad and moreover they lack the atmosphere of a group gathered in a cemetery by an open grave.

  8. Thank you for the reminder of the importance of family and friends. I think we all too often take for granted those who are dearest to us. The wintry scenes were beautiful, even though the situation was one of loss.

  9. Yes, family is important. AND sometimes funerals (and weddings) are the only time we all get together. Kinda sad--but that is life. People are busy and living in different areas/places. Sad about Lil's death --but I'm sure it was nice to get to see family.

    Love your snowy photos. We've had snow off and on all weekend --but not much accumulation. I've enjoyed it though.


  10. Theresa - So true. The final good-bye to a loved one is made easier by the comfort and support of others.

    Thank you, Stephen.

    Ruth - The scenes were so much prettier than shown in my photos. Wish I could have gotten out in the snow and tried to do it justice.

    Hilary - I think the old saying is true: "Sorrow shared is halved; joy shared is doubled."

    KD - Thanks so much for the prayers. We don't take them lightly.

    Thanks, Gail. You're right about celebrating life with those we love while we still have them with us.

    Thank you, Petra. Actually, the roads did get bad when the snow started. Doug's brother, who was following us to the funeral home on Tuesday night, slid through an intersection and came very close to hitting a utility pole. No harm was done, though. I have heard of photos being taken at a funeral, but I didn't think it was my place to initiate the practice at this one. :)

    George - Thank you for your nice comment.

    Betsy - You would have gone absolutely nuts over the beautiful snow we had on Wednesday! It was perfectly gorgeous.

  11. It's rather sad the funerals are the only time we ever see some people but with families scattered and everyone so busy I guess that's what you get. Thanks for stopping by my blog today to read Betsy's interview

    1. Ann - I guess we should just be grateful for ANYTHING that brings family together. :)


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