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Not sure what to do, if anything...........(special shout out to MaStrong)
September 28, 2009
2:51 pm
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truthBtold
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Recently I attended my girlfriend's funeral. She died of lung cancer at only 49 years old. We were very close. Knew each other since we were around 8.

There was an hour of 'condolences' for people to come for the family.

(Now, the last time I went to a funeral, there was this same period of 'condolences' or I guess, maybe what is called the 'viewing' and then from there - the casket was taken directly to the gravesite where the pastor talked on and on about the virtues of the deceased and I felt gave great honor to the person who had passed.)

But the one for my girlfriend, following the viewing/condolences, everyone went to another section of the funeral home that was set up like a church - complete with pulpit and huge cross and her casket up front.

This pastor, (in his eighties) who, by the way, was not even wearing a respectable suit or jacket, just a plain western-style shirt proceeded in the beginning to just rattle off her name, date of birth, date of death, how old she was as if like....reciting the stats of a baseball player or something and then from there, he went full force - and I DO MEAN - FULL FORCE into preaching about Adam & Eve and the apple and the snake and the fig leaves and the blood that Jesus shed on the cross and on and on and on and on - as if he thought - AHA! I have a captured audience here! Let me do my darndest to see if I can't convert some souls while I am at it!!!!

Every once in awhile, he would relate what he was saying to death - but then went right back to thumping the bible. He even went so far (in a roundabout way) as to say something along the lines that 'special' grace be given to those whom are Christians during this time of grief.

This whole fiasco lasted a solid hour with nary, I would say, 5 complete minutes being dedicated exclusively to my friend who had a heart of gold!

At the gravesite was really more of the same.

NOTHING was mentioned how she would basically give the shirt off of her back for anyone in need! Nothing was mentioned about her generousity and kind and loving spirit! Nothing was mentioned about the kind of great human being that she was and will be so sorely missed.

Nothing like that at all.

In fact, the few times that he spoke directly of her, when he did at all was in how when he visited her at the hospital, that she had got 'right' with G_d in the end.

I can't believe that he took such advantage and liberties with of a bunch of vulnerable people, clearly in grief - and tried to spin it around to a personal vendetta to 'save souls' to what felt to me, to be a clearly selfish act on his part.

So, I revert back to the question of this thread.

Should I send a letter to him expressing not only my disappointment in his NOT keeping the majority of the sermon/service directed towards her and her alone, but how he tried to take advantage and capitalize on the vulnerable grief of others as an opportunity to persue his own selfish intent to 'convert souls' because of this captured audience he found before him?

Not quite sure what to do here?

I am thinking about taking some time to just sit down and compose a very heartfelt letter to him explaining my feelings about all of this.

What do ya'll think/feel about this?

I welcome any and all respectful comments/advice. Thanks very much.

September 28, 2009
3:25 pm
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StronginHim77
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Tough questions. And horribly tough funeral for you to have to endure.

I have experienced a funeral, similar to the one you just described. It was a horror. The presiding minister used the pulpit to hammer a "captive audience," such as you describe.

As a Christian minister, I have conducted many funerals. My priority is to bring comfort to those left behind. Period. Obviously, my faith puts a spin of "hope" on my message because I believe in (and emphasize for purposes of comfort to the bereaved) the reunion which awaits all believers on the other side of the veil which separates us from heaven.

In short the separation from those we love -- however painful -- is mercifully TEMPORARY. We will meet again, one day. It is just so doggone hard to press on, knowing we will never see them, heart their voices, touch their hands or look into their eyes, until we are reunited in eterniy.

I also consider it essential to talk about the character, struggles, victories and achievements of the departed loved one. I think that funerals should be a sincere expression of love, honor and respect for the life of the one who has been called Home. If I do not know the deceased well enough (on a personal level), I consider it my duty to spend time with his/her family & loved ones, gathering their memories, impressions and interactions with the deceased. All will be incorporated into my funeral message.

Considering the advanced age of the minister who presided over your friend's funeral, I doubt that much would be accomplished by writing to him. However, you are certainly entitled to vent your feelings. He is of the "old school" and unlikely to change. But do whatever you feel would bring you closure and bring honor to your beloved friend.

My sympathies on your loss.

- Ma Strong

September 28, 2009
3:57 pm
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truthBtold
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-Ma Strong,

Thank you so much for responding with such honesty, sincerity and integrity.

(It brings tears to my eyes.)

Thank you for understanding.

I almost feel like going onto epinions or something to somehow warn others of his insensitivity - but not sure I want to go that malicious, revengeful route.

I've not discussed this with anyone else in the family as - what would be the purpose?

It's all said and done. I am sure many others felt the same way.

Maybe I will just have my own private service dedicated to her in my own humble way - to somehow reenact what I wished would had taken place in her honor.

I dunno. Maybe plant a tree in her honor.

MaStrong, your words touched me deeply. Thank you so much for responding so quickly. It means more than you will ever know.........

tBt

September 28, 2009
9:27 pm
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truthBtold
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Well, I decided to send an email to the funeral home and vent my feelings/observations/disapprovals.

The funeral home had pics of the two owners and several other associates there - none of which this particular Rev was listed.

I suggested that he might be hurting their business and also suggested that perhaps an apology might be in order by them to her husband and parents due to his gross inadequacies and insenstivities.

Don't know if it will amount to much - but there you have it.

Hoepfully this old, crusty such and such will not have the opportunity to wreck havoc on another unsuspecting audience of vulnerable, grieving souls.........

September 28, 2009
10:28 pm
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MsGuided
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(((tBt)))

Sorry for your loss, and how that loss was disrespected.

Maybe you can write down all your thoughts about your friend, all the things that weren't said at the funeral, and need to be recognized.

Figure out a way to hold onto those memories> perhaps put the writings in a special keepsake box, with her photo, an item she gave you, something you both understood and shared.

The public ritual sometimes doesn't fullfill, so make it personal in your own private way.

Nothing wrong with a Burning ritual either. Set up a memorium with her items, then light a candle for her. Keep it burning when you are home for as long as you feel comfortable. Or burn something symbolic to release the negativity that priest put upon the burial.

September 29, 2009
11:33 am
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It No Longer Matters
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tBt? Aren't you somewhere in the South? There are certain older pastors in the south who are mainly of the Southern Baptist or Pentacostal ilk that always do this sort of thing. If he visited your friend as she was dying an helped her prepare to die, he may have had her permission to do this. Step back and look at it from that angle. It isn't what I wanted for my dad's funeral and it isn't what I would want for mine, but I have experienced this type of funeral many times and chalked it up to whatever. Getting angry or upset about it isn't going to change things and it really isn't your battle to fight. Honor your friend in your own way.

Bitsy

September 29, 2009
2:05 pm
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StronginHim77
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I do have one other idea, something I have suggested to several people which they implemented with great success.

Host a "Celebration of Her Life" gathering. Invite those who genuinely loved her and let each share a cherished memory or anecdote about your dear friend. You can also encourage them to bring photos to share. Post a large collage about her with photos, poems, quotes...whatever you wish to put on it. Place it on an easel and have each guest sign it and add their own, personal "good bye" to her.

Finally, have one large candle burning during this gathering. Arrange it on a tray/table, surrounded by many small votive candles. At the conclusion of the gettogether, invite each participant to light one of the small candles in memory of her. This is a LOVELY ritual which comforts many.

Hope this suggestion works for you.

- Ma Strong

September 30, 2009
11:39 am
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risingfromtheashes
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Truth -

I have been to funerals of family members that were soooooo impersonal that it made me cry...I left thinking "that's it????"...what I realized was A) the pastor had NO clue who they were and B) the family did not give him enough to go on.

So, if this person didn't know her and had nothing to work with, perhaps he just reverted to doing what he knew best? who knows.

In any case, I was going to suggest the same thing that MaStrong said - having your own ceremony of sorts. You could also post something in the newspaper - your own goodbye with remarks on the person she was - for all the world to see. You could also write the family expressing your condolences and mentioning how much you appreciated all the goodness in her heart - recongnizing her acheivements.

I'm sorry that the funeral was not a celebration of life that you expected - and hope you find some ways to come to terms with it.

September 30, 2009
12:09 pm
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This was why when my father died I had his memorial service at the church where he and my stepmother were married with a minister who knew my father. My dad had taken a 16 week Bible study under this pastor and had challenged him quite a bit in regards to God. I did not know the pastor well, but the important thing is that he knew my father well. He actually was able to say the most comforting thing anyone said to me through the whole ordeal. He came ot the house that morning my dad died and had prayer with us. As it ended he squeezed my hand and told me not to worry, my dad was in heaven. When my aunts and uncles wanted to gripe and grumble about me having the funeral there, I spoke up and said it was MY decision. I made it.

Bitsy

October 1, 2009
3:10 pm
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truthBtold
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Thanks everyone for your support and suggestions.

I have alot of great info here to draw on moving forward.

Thanks again.

tBt

October 2, 2009
1:44 am
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CraigCo
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(tbt)

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