Healing of the Wounds

Inevitably the death of a loved one causes drama within a family. Whether it's squabbling over an inheritance, arguing over funeral costs, blaming each other for past sins, families find a way to make a sad event even worse. My family is no exception, and I've tried to focus my will on healing those wounds.

Due to financial reasons, the majority of my family (by that I mean my mom and 8 aunts & uncles) decided to have my grandmother cremated. There would be a Mass, then a small service, and then we would have whatever plans afterward. There would be no viewing, no casket, no plot, and of course no headstone. I've become the consigliere regarding Canon Law and the proper Catholic way to do things.

Earlier today there was discussion of changing the cremation to a full funeral with burial. Two of my uncles said they would pay a large portion themselves while allowing the rest to only pay a small part. A debate quickly ensued about who was responsible for how much, who had already made large contributions towards my grandmother's care, and what was best. Initially the question was simply about money.

As I listened to them talk and squabble, I surprised them by offering to pay the unpaid amount:

"If the remaining balance is only $1900, I have that in my account. I'll gladly pay for it, but is it what all of you want?"

I was given several looks, the grandson willing to pony up for his grandma's funeral, before I was told to keep my money, because I needed it. I told them that if they felt a funeral would make the difference, if that is what would bring full closure, then go for it. But if that's not what Grandma would want, people spending lots of money on her, then why go through the extra hassle?

I've spoken with the family regarding Catholics and cremation, and they know what needs to be done. My hope is that they focus not just on ceremonies, but on their love for their mother and their desire for her spirit to be with God in Heaven.

As Samuel L. Jackson said: "I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd."

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7 Response to Healing of the Wounds

September 22, 2007 at 1:41 AM

Sounds to me like you're doing a very good job of being the shepherd for you family.

Grief can bring out the best and worst in people; you keep reminding your relatives it's about your grandmother, not them, and you will fulfill your promise :=)

September 22, 2007 at 1:43 AM

Oh, and I don't know if I said it or not, but my heart goes out to you and your family. I send my deepest condolences to you for your loss, and a big cyber hug.

September 24, 2007 at 7:33 PM

I'm so sorry for your loss. There are no words anyone can really offer for comfort, so just consider my presence with you spiritually in your grief. That's all I can offer you...and prayers for you and your family.

God bless you.

October 1, 2007 at 9:05 PM

I am sorry for your loss. You will be in my prayers.

October 1, 2007 at 9:05 PM

I am sorry for your loss. You will be in my prayers.

October 2, 2007 at 7:40 PM

You okay? Getting worried about you now, let us know how you're doing!

October 11, 2007 at 9:53 PM

I miss your presence on the web. Your blog has been a part of my own Catholic life. Let us know how you are. You are in my prayers.