Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Saturday, February 2, 2019


I receive the obits, by email, from several newspapers. This morning there was the obit of a woman whose picture makes her look like a very normal and likeable person. But, “There will be no services, at her request.”

I understand why they put in “at her request.” Her family wants to make sure other people don’t think they are weird, or don’t like her.

I’m always puzzled by people who “request no services,” and not just because I’ll miss out on the ten dollar honorarium for doing the service.

Scenario 1 Trying to do a good thing: Maybe this woman thought there would be a big fight among her survivors if they all came together in one place, and she wanted to spare them that. I’ve been in the middle of some of those fights, one very close to literally so. Thus I applaud her if that is her motivation.

Scenario 2 Trying to do a bad thing: But maybe she just wants to be mean to her survivors by not allowing them closure. One of my friends, a coffee shop operator, left the ministry when a woman came to see him for counseling. She said, “We were at my mother-in-law’s for Thanksgiving, and she prepared a wonderful meal. We were all sitting at the table when she brought the turkey in, set it down on the table, sat down at the end, took a pistol out of her apron pocket, and shot herself in the head.” Talk about being hostile to your family! [And wondering what they said at her service.] My friend said, “I figured if I had to deal with that sort of stuff as a minister, I’d better go to roasting coffee.” I understand. I’ve dealt with too many of those.  

And there are other considerations:

Services are for the survivors. Shouldn’t they have the right to a service if they want one? Why should the deceased get to keep making the decisions even after she’s no longer here?

But shouldn’t we honor the wishes of the deceased? Isn’t that the loving thing to do?

I don’t know. It shouldn’t be a problem for my family. It’s okay with me for them to have a service, as long as they don’t play “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” on the church sound system as they take off after to go to Red Lobster.

John Robert McFarland

No, the above isn’t writing; it’s just the fevered musing of a confused mind.

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