I've known for a while now, that when it's my parents time to go, they wanted a super simple ceremony, with a homemade casket and the personal touch of us getting them ready for burial. I have to admit, I've been somewhat on the fence about that, mostly cause I wasn't sure I could handle the hands on part. Now I know I can...although for me it will be harder with my parents of course, since I'm closer to them.
While I love the old fashioned ways for the most part...doing an old fashioned funeral was never on my list things I wanted to do. You know...where you use a homemade casket...and the women get the body ready for burial? Seriously....Me? NOT! However, I'm also a firm believer in, you do what ya have to do, and since that's what Mark wanted...and I knew Mom couldn't do it herself, that meant it was up to me to help.
So since it's what my brother wanted, that morning that Clara died, my hubby went in and purchased the wood that was needed for the homemade casket, while my Dad was doing other things in preparation for the funeral the next day (a snow storm was forecast for Saturday...so we couldn't wait till Saturday to have it). Then, when hubby got the wood home, my Dad started making the casket...while Galen and I went back to our house, to get ready to have people over after the funeral.
Once the casket was made, it was brought into the house, where Clara was laying, still in her bed. We lined it with a pretty soft blanket, placed a pillow in one end, then placed Clara into it with the help of a lift and the guys. Mom and I then went to work getting her "dressed" in her tartan skirt and shirt that went with it and fixing her hair. Since it's the first time I'd ever done anything like that, I was not really sure what I was doing...but we managed to fake it, and things turned out pretty good I'd say. Least everyone was satisfied with how she looked anyway. Most of all I discovered I really COULD handle giving that personal touch to the end of someone's life.
The next day, we gathered at the old country cemetery, where three of my grandparents are buried, along with my beloved Uncle and baby niece. Dad had hired someone to come open the grave, since the ground was frozen...and we are all old enough we don't need to try to dig a hole by hand anyway. Family and friends joined us as we said our last goodbyes to Clara. Bagpipes playing Amazing Grace played on our car stereo at one point during the service.
The pastor who married Mark and Clara (as well as Hubby and I...he is the Dad of my best friend from high school) did the service, with a touch here and there from another pastor friend that my brother went to school with. My brother stood by Clara throughout the service in his kilt. I naturally wandered around from time to time snapping photos...that's my beloved Uncle's influence showing, as he would take them at funerals too.
Once the service was over, people viewed the casket if they wanted, then it was closed, and several of the men who were there grabbed a rope and helped lower the casket into the grave.
You all may ask, if this was legal. To be sure it was, we asked the coroner what we could and couldn't do before we even got started...and he was there at the funeral to oversee it...so yes, it was all legal, least in this state.
After the casket was in the grave, hubby, Mom and I headed out to our house, with some of the people following, for the after funeral meal while my Dad stayed behind to bury the casket. He came after he was done and we all enjoyed time with friends and family till after dark that night.
It may have been a simple service...and it was certainly way less expensive...but it's the personal touch I keep being drawn back to. I'm glad now, that I was able to be in on it ALL. I'm thankful for all the family and friends who came that day on short notice also, to help us say goodbye, and give us a few happier memories for the day too.
All in all, I think it went well...and while it may not be what everyone would want...I'm not opposed to it at all now...and kinda like the idea of the personal touch myself. :-))