Funeral Viewing Quotes

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The point is that no matter what you choose to do with your body when you die, it won't, ultimately, be very appealing. If you are inclined to donate yourself to science, you should not let images of dissection or dismemberment put you off. They are no more or less gruesome, in my opinion, than ordinary decay or the sewing shut of your jaws via your nostrils for a funeral viewing.
Mary Roach (Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers)
It's important to attend funerals. It is important to view the body, they say, and to see it committed to earth or fire because unless you do that, the loved one dies for you again and again.
Ann-Marie MacDonald (Fall on Your Knees)
Aristotle says in the Poetics,” said Henry, “that objects such as corpses, painful to view in themselves, can become delightful to contemplate in a work of art.” “And I believe Aristotle is correct. After all, what are the scenes in poetry graven on our memories, the ones that we love the most? Precisely these. The murder of Agamemnon and the wrath of Achilles. Dido on the funeral pyre. The daggers of the traitors and Caesar’s blood—remember how Suetonius describes his body being borne away on the litter, with one arm hanging down?” “Death is the mother of beauty,” said Henry. “And what is beauty?” “Terror.” “Well said,” said Julian. “Beauty is rarely soft or consolatory. Quite the contrary. Genuine beauty is always quite alarming.” I looked at Camilla, her face bright in the sun, and thought of that line from the Iliad I love so much, about Pallas Athene and the terrible eyes shining. “And if beauty is terror,” said Julian, “then what is desire? We think we have many desires, but in fact we have only one. What is it?” “To live,” said Camilla. “To live forever,” said Bunny, chin cupped in palm. The teakettle began to whistle.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
Gerald Westerby, he told himself. You were present at your birth. You were present at your several marriages and at some of your divorces, and you will certainly be present at your funeral. High time, in our considered view, that you were present at certain other crucial moments in your history.
John le Carré (The Honourable Schoolboy (George Smiley #6; Karla Trilogy #2))
What do you think of the old boy?” said Jean. “He’s got a strangely sunny view of ten years of defeat,” said Locke, “but if I get killed in the next six weeks, I want him to speak at my funeral.
Scott Lynch (The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3))
It would be well to realize that the talk of ‘humane methods of warfare’, of the ‘rules of civilized warfare’, and all such homage to the finer sentiments of the race are hypocritical and unreal, and only intended for the consumption of stay-at-homes. There are no humane methods of warfare, there is no such thing as civilized warfare; all warfare is inhuman, all warfare is barbaric; the first blast of the bugles of war ever sounds for the time being the funeral knell of human progress… What lover of humanity can view with anything but horror the prospect of this ruthless destruction of human life. Yet this is war: war for which all the jingoes are howling, war to which all the hopes of the world are being sacrificed, war to which a mad ruling class would plunge a mad world.
James Connolly
Many writers, especially male ones, have told us that it is the decease of the father which opens the prospect of one's own end, and affords an unobstructed view of the undug but awaiting grave that says 'you're next.' Unfilial as this may seem, that was not at all so in my own case. It was only when I watched Alexander [my own son] being born that I knew at once that my own funeral director had very suddenly, but quite unmistakably, stepped onto the stage. I was surprised by how calmly I took this, but also by how reluctant I was to mention it to my male contemporaries.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
I do blame that pothole, though. Damn that pothole.
Matt Schiariti (Funeral with a View)
What do you think of the old boy?" said Jean. "He's got a strangely sunny view of ten years of defeat", said Locke, "but if I get killed in the next six weeks, I want him to speak at my funeral.
Scott Lynch (The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3))
The name of Robert G. Ingersoll is in the pantheon of the world. More than any other man who ever lived he destroyed religious superstition. He was the Shakespeare of oratory -- the greatest that the world has ever known. Ingersoll lived and died far in advance of his time. He wrought nobly for the transformation of this world into a habitable globe; and long after the last echo of destruction has been silenced, his name will be loved and honored, and his fame will shine resplendent, for his immortality is fixed and glorious. {Debbs had this much respect for Ingersoll, despite their radically different political views. This statement was made at Ingersoll's funeral}
Eugene V. Debs
Symbolic thinking of any kind would signal downfall, in Crake’s view. Next they’d be inventing idols, and funerals, and grave goods, and the afterlife, and sin, and Linear B, and kings, and then slavery and war.
Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1))
My mother's going to love you, you know. Although," I paused, "I'm not sure the feeling will be mutual." "You make her sound like such an ogre." "Harpy." "What?" "Ogres are male. Harpies are female. At least, I think so. Shit, I don't know. I'm a graphic designer. Mythology wasn't on the curriculum." Cat worked at a local bank as an IT consultant, and I doubted she knew much more about mythic creatures than I did. "Anyway, I think she's too short to be an ogre.
Matt Schiariti (Funeral with a View)
{Colonel Carr's testimony of Colonel Robert Ingersoll at his funeral} He was the boldest, most aggressive, courageous, virile, and the kindest and gentlest and most considerate and loving man I ever knew. His was a nature that yielded to no obstacles, that could not be moved nor turned aside by the allurements of place or position, the menaces of power, the favors of the opulent, or the enticing influences of public opinion. Entering upon his career in an age of obsequiousness and time-serving, when the values of political and religious views were estimated by what they would bring from the ruling party and from the church, in offices and emoluments and benefices, he assailed the giant evils of the times with the strength and power of Hercules and ground them to dust under his trip-hammer blows. Throughout his whole active life, there has been no greater and more potential influence than the personality of this sublime character in breaking the shackles of the slave, and in freeing men and women and children from the bonds of ignorance and superstition.
Eugene Asa Carr
Watch out for art, Crake used to say. As soon as they start doing art, we’re in trouble. Symbolic thinking of any kind would signal downfall, in Crake’s view. Next they’d be inventing idols, and funerals, and grave goods, and the afterlife, and sin, and Linear B, and kings, and then slavery and war.
Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1))
There was one thing more he wanted from this funeral. He wanted to see the hearse pass by again, the body tilted for viewing, a digital corpse, a loop, a replication. It did not seem right that the hearse had come and gone. He wanted it to reappear at intervals, proud body open to the night, to replenish the sorrow and wonder of the crowd.
Don DeLillo (Cosmopolis)
When an animal dies, another of the same species may cling to the body, eat the body, or look bored. Bees expel dead bodies from the hive or, if that is impossible, embalm them in honey. Elephants "say" a ritualistic good-bye, and touch their dead before slowly walking away. Corvids often accept the death of a companion without much fuss, but they at times have “funerals,” where scores of birds lament over the corpse of a deceased crow. But it is a bit odd that people should investigate whether animals “comprehend death,” as if human beings understood what it means to die. Is death a prelude to reincarnation? A portal to Heaven or Hell? Complete extinction? Union with all life? Or something else? All of these views can at times be comforting, yet people usually fear death, quite regardless of what they claim to believe. In the natural world, killing seems a casual affair. Human beings, of course, kill on a massive scale, but most of us can only kill, if at all, by softening the impact of the deed through rituals such as drink or prayer. The strike of a spider, a heron, or a cat is swift and, seemingly, without inhibition or remorse. They pounce with a confidence that could indicate ignorance, indifference, or else profound knowledge. Could this be, perhaps, because animals cannot conceive of killing, since they are not aware of death? Could it be because they understand death well, far better than do human beings? If animals envision the world not in terms of abstract concepts but sensuous images, the soul might appear as a unique scent, a rhythmic motion, or a tone of voice. Death would be the absence of these, though without that absolute finality that we find so severe. Perhaps the heron that snaps a fish thinks his meal lives on, as he one day will, in the form of currents in the pond.
Boria Sax (The Raven and the Sun: Poems and Stories)
The graveyard was at the top of the hill. It looked over all of the town. The town was hills - hills that issued down in trickles and then creeks and then rivers of cobblestone into the town, to flood the town with rough and beautiful stone that had been polished into smooth flatness over the centuries. It was a pointed irony that the very best view of the town could be had from the cemetery hill, where high, thick walls surrounded a collection of tombstones like wedding cakes, frosted with white angels and iced with ribbons and scrolls, one against another, toppling, shining cold. It was like a cake confectioner's yard. Some tombs were big as beds. From here, on freezing evenings, you could look down at the candle-lit valley, hear dogs bark, sharp as tuning forks banged on a flat stone, see all the funeral processions coming up the hill in the dark, coffins balanced on shoulders. ("The Candy Skull")
Ray Bradbury
Watch out for art, Crake used to say. As soon as they start doing art, we’re in trouble. Symbolic thinking of any kind would signal downfall, in Crake’s view. Next they’d be inventing idols, and funerals, and grave goods, and the afterlife, and sin, and Linear B, and kings, and then slavery and war. Snowman longs to question them—who first had the idea of making a reasonable facsimile of him, of Snowman, out of a jar lid and a mop? But that will have to wait.
Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1))
I resolutely refuse to believe that the state of Edward's health had anything to do with this, and I don't say this only because I was once later accused of attacking him 'on his deathbed.' He was entirely lucid to the end, and the positions he took were easily recognizable by me as extensions or outgrowths of views he had expressed (and also declined to express) in the past. Alas, it is true that he was closer to the end than anybody knew when the thirtieth anniversary reissue of his Orientalism was published, but his long-precarious condition would hardly argue for giving him a lenient review, let alone denying him one altogether, which would have been the only alternatives. In the introduction he wrote for the new edition, he generally declined the opportunity to answer his scholarly critics, and instead gave the recent American arrival in Baghdad as a grand example of 'Orientalism' in action. The looting and destruction of the exhibits in the Iraq National Museum had, he wrote, been a deliberate piece of United States vandalism, perpetrated in order to shear the Iraqi people of their cultural patrimony and demonstrate to them their new servitude. Even at a time when anything at all could be said and believed so long as it was sufficiently and hysterically anti-Bush, this could be described as exceptionally mendacious. So when the Atlantic invited me to review Edward's revised edition, I decided I'd suspect myself more if I declined than if I agreed, and I wrote what I felt I had to. Not long afterward, an Iraqi comrade sent me without comment an article Edward had contributed to a magazine in London that was published by a princeling of the Saudi royal family. In it, Edward quoted some sentences about the Iraq war that he off-handedly described as 'racist.' The sentences in question had been written by me. I felt myself assailed by a reaction that was at once hot-eyed and frigidly cold. He had cited the words without naming their author, and this I briefly thought could be construed as a friendly hesitance. Or as cowardice... I can never quite act the stern role of Mr. Darcy with any conviction, but privately I sometimes resolve that that's 'it' as it were. I didn't say anything to Edward but then, I never said anything to him again, either. I believe that one or two charges simply must retain their face value and not become debauched or devalued. 'Racist' is one such. It is an accusation that must either be made good upon, or fully retracted. I would not have as a friend somebody whom I suspected of that prejudice, and I decided to presume that Edward was honest and serious enough to feel the same way. I feel misery stealing over me again as I set this down: I wrote the best tribute I could manage when he died not long afterward (and there was no strain in that, as I was relieved to find), but I didn't go to, and wasn't invited to, his funeral.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Yes, it was a "beautiful" sermon, tugging the emotions and conjuring up pictures of greatness and peace. But were they talking about the decent peppery ordinary old man he knew, or had the subject strayed to the story of some saint of the past? Or were there perhaps two men being buried under the same name? One perhaps had shown himself to Ross, while the other had been reserved for the view of men like William-Alfred. Ross tried to remember Charles before he was ill, Charles with his love of cockfighting and his hearty appetite, with his perpetual flatulence and passion for gin, with his occasional generosities and meannesses and faults and virtues, like most men. There was some mistake somewhere. Oh well, this was a special occasion...But Charles himself would surely have been amused. Or would he have shed a tear with the rest for the manner of man who had passed away?
Winston Graham (Ross Poldark (Poldark, #1))
My father liked to wonder aloud whether the phoenix was re-created by the fire of its funeral pyre or transformed so that what emerged was a soulless shadow of its former being, identical in appearance but without the joy in life its predecessor had had. He wondered alternatively whether the fire might be purificatory, a redemptive, rejuvenating blaze that destroyed the withered shell of the old phoenix and allowed the creature’s essence to emerge stronger than it was before in a young, new body. Or, he would ask, was the fire a manifestation of entropy, slowly sapping the life-energy of the phoenix over the eons, a little death in a life that could know no beginning and no end but which could nonetheless be subject to an ever-decreasing magnitude? He asked me once if I thought the fires in our lives, the traumas, increased our fulfillment by setting up contrasts that illuminated more clearly our everyday joys; or perhaps I viewed them instead as tests that made us stronger by teaching us to endure; or did I believe, rather, that they simply amplified what we already were, in the end making the strong stronger, the weak weaker, and the dangerous deadly?
Mohsin Hamid (Moth Smoke)
There is a difficult discussion that rarely happens among American funeral directors: viewing the embalmed body is often an unpleasant experience for the family. THere are exceptions to this rule, but the immediate family is given almost no meaningful time with the body. Before the family has time to be with their dead person and process the loss, coworkers and distant cousins arrive, and everyone is forced into a public performance of grief and humility. I wondered what it would be like if there were places like Lastel in every major city. Spaces outside the stiff, ceremonial norm, where the family can just be with the body, free from the performance required at a formal viewing. Spaces that are safe, comfortable, like home.
Caitlin Doughty
Cavity embalming has the same general purpose as arterial embalming: you take the old fluids out and put new fluids in, to kill bacteria and halt decomposition long enough for a viewing and a funeral. But whereas arterial embalming used the body’s natural circulatory system to make the job easy, cavity embalming involved a lot of individual organs and unconnected spaces that had to be dealt with one by one. We accomplished this with a tool called a trocar - basically a long, bladed nozzle attached to a vacuum. We used the trocar to puncture a body and suck out the gunk, a process called ‘aspiration’, and then once we’d sucked everything out we cleaned the trocar and attached it to a different tube, so it could drizzle in another chemical cocktail similar to the one we put in the arteries.
Dan Wells (Mr. Monster (John Cleaver, #2))
If we had flown Victoria to New Zealand, she would have been at a funeral home, with private viewings in an atmosphere of stilted, muffled unquiet. I would have had little opportunity to sit with the body and pour out my lament. The Singaporeans would not have been there with their reassuring ease in the ritual of mourning. My family might have come bristling with disrespect, and rent the air with accusations and blame. Some mourners would have been embarrassed by my tears. They and others would have wanted the whole thing done and dusted quickly. The funeral director or an assistant might well have been the ones dressing the body. I would have not realised the normality of death so quickly, and more importantly at this point, the absolute necessity to go briefly mad with grief, to cover yourself— metaphorically—in the dowdy burlap of mourning.
Linda Collins (Loss Adjustment)
But what should he wear? I thought about having him laid to rest in his uniform. But the truth is he hated wearing it. He really needed to be dressed in something he was comfortable in. And that wasn’t going to be in a suit, either: he hated being in a jacket and tie even more than in a uniform. Tie? Ha! I got a pair of his best pressed jeans. They had a nice crease in the pants leg, just like he liked. I found one of his plaid button-down shirts, another favorite. Kryptek, which produces tactical gear and apparel and was one of Chris’s favorite companies, had presented him with a big silver belt buckle that he loved. It was very cowboy, and in that way very much who Chris was. “You think I can pull this off?” he’d asked, showing me how it looked right after he got it. “Hell, yeah,” I told him. I made sure that was with him as well. But if there was any item of clothing that really touched deep into Chris’s soul, it was his cowboy boots. They were a reminder of who he was when he was young, and they were part of who he’d been since getting out of the military. He had a really nice pair of new boots that had been custom made. He hadn’t had a chance to wear them much, and I couldn’t decide whether to bury him in those or another pair that were well worn and very comfortable. I asked the funeral director for his opinion. “We usually don’t do shoes,” he said. It can be very difficult to get them onto the body. “But if it’s important to you, we can do it.” I thought about it. Was the idea of burying them with Chris irrational? The symbolism seemed important. But that could work the other way, too--they would surely be important to Bubba someday. Maybe I should save them for him. In the end, I decided to set them near Chris’s casket when his body was on view, then collect them later for our son. But Chris had the last word. Through a miscommunication--or maybe something else--they were put in the casket when he was laid to rest. So obviously that was the way it should have been.
Taya Kyle (American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal)
Though my approach throughout the book will be positive and expository, it is worth noting from the outset that I intend to challenge this dominant paradigm in each of its main constituent parts. In general terms, this view holds the following: (1) that the Jewish context provides only a fuzzy setting, in which ‘resurrection’ could mean a variety of different things; (2) that the earliest Christian writer, Paul, did not believe in bodily resurrection, but held a ‘more spiritual’ view; (3) that the earliest Christians believed, not in Jesus’ bodily resurrection, but in his exaltation/ascension/glorification, in his ‘going to heaven’ in some kind of special capacity, and that they came to use ‘resurrection’ language initially to denote that belief and only subsequently to speak of an empty tomb or of ‘seeing’ the risen Jesus; (4) that the resurrection stories in the gospels are late inventions designed to bolster up this second-stage belief; (5) that such ‘seeings’ of Jesus as may have taken place are best understood in terms of Paul’s conversion experience, which itself is to be explained as a ‘religious’ experience, internal to the subject rather than involving the seeing of any external reality, and that the early Christians underwent some kind of fantasy or hallucination; (6) that whatever happened to Jesus’ body (opinions differ as to whether it was even buried in the first place), it was not ‘resuscitated’, and was certainly not ‘raised from the dead’ in the sense that the gospel stories, read at face value, seem to require.11 Of course, different elements in this package are stressed differently by different scholars; but the picture will be familiar to anyone who has even dabbled in the subject, or who has listened to a few mainstream Easter sermons, or indeed funeral sermons, in recent decades.
N.T. Wright (Resurrection Son of God V3: Christian Origins and the Question of God)
When I was first getting to know her we were in a viewing room at the funeral parlor looking at a new line of cigar-shaped caskets that were called “Time Capsules of the Future.
Jack Gantos (Dead End in Norvelt (Norvelt Series))
Indeed Sartre, like Russell, failed to achieve any kind of coherence and consistency in his views of public policy. No body of doctrine survived him. In the end, again like Russell, he stood for nothing more than a vague desire to belong to the left and the camp of youth. The intellectual decline of Sartre, who after all at one time did seem to be identified with a striking, if confused, philosophy of life, was particularly spectacular. But there is always a large section of the educated public which demands intellectual leaders, however unsatisfactory. Despite his enormities, Rousseau was widely honoured at and after his death. Sartre, another monstre sacré, was given a magnificent funeral by intellectual Paris. Over 50,000 people, most of them young, followed his body into Montparnasse Cemetery. To get a better view, some climbed into the trees. One of them came crashing down onto the coffin itself. To what cause had they come to do honour? What faith, what luminous truth about humanity, were they asserting by their mass presence? We may well ask.
Paul Johnson (Intellectuals)
Christ makes clear that Christianity is not a path to more comforts, higher status, or greater ease in this world..Here are the days when holding fasting to the gospel, actually believing the Bible, and putting it into practice will mean risking your reputation, sacrificing your social status, disagreeing with your closest family and friends, jeopardizing your economic security and earthly stability, giving away your possessions, leaving behind the accolades of the world, and..potentially losing your life..it is not possible to love the poor and live in unabated luxury..authentic tolerance doesn't mask truth but magnifies it, showing us how to love and serve one another in view of our differences..we spend the majority of our time sitting as spectators in services that cater to our comforts. Even in our giving to the church, we spend the majority of our money on places for us to meet, professionals to do the ministry, and programs designed around us and our kids..Jesus' main point is not that going to a funeral is wrong, but that his Kingdom will not take second place to anyone or anything else..Even more important than honoring the dead was proclaiming the Kingdom to those who were dying..Jesus knew that as great as people's earthly needs were, their eternal need was far greater..the ultimate priority of his coming was not to relieve suffering..his ultimate priority in coming to the world was to sever the root of suffering: sin itself..He came not just to give the poor drinking water for their bodies but to give people living water for their souls. He came not just to give orphans and widows a family now but to give them a family forever. He came not just to free girls from slavery to sex but to free them from slavery to sin. He came not just to make equality possible on earth but to make eternity possible in heaven..If all we do is meet people's physical needs while ignoring their spiritual need, we miss the entire point..We testify with our lips what we attest with our lives..giving a cup of water to the poor is not contingent upon that person's confession of faith in Christ..it is in addressing eternal suffering that we are most effective in alleviating earthly suffering..This commission is not just a general command to make disciples among as many people as possible. Instead, it is a specific command to make disciples among every people group in the world..Jesus has not given us a commission to consider; he has given us a command to obey..it seems that Jesus knows as soon as this man returns to his family, the lure to stay will be strong..It is not uncommon for the lure of family love to lead to faithless living..Following Jesus doesn't just entail sacrificial abandonment of our lives; it requires supreme affection from our hearts..I can slowly let indecision become inaction..delayed obedience becomes disobedience..If I'm walking by a lake and see a child drowning, I don't stop and ponder what I should do. Nor do I just stand there praying about what action to take. I do something..My purpose in putting these realities before us is not to cause us to collapse under their weight. To be certain, God alone is able to bear these global burdens..proclaim the gospel not under a utopian illusion that you or I or anyone or everyone together can rid this world of pain and suffering. That responsibility belongs to the resurrected Christ.
David Platt (A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography)
States, in the name of austerity, have stopped providing prisoners with essential items including shoes, extra blankets, and even toilet paper, while starting to charge them for electricity and room and board. Most prisoners and the families that struggle to support them are chronically short of money. When they go broke—and being broke is a frequent occurrence in prison—prisoners must take out prison loans to pay for medications, legal and medical fees, and basic commissary items such as soap and deodorant. Debt peonage inside prison is as prevalent as it is outside prison. Prisoners are charged for visits to the infirmary and the dentist. Prisoners must pay the state for a fifteen-minute deathbed visit to an immediate family member, or for a fifteen-minute visit to a funeral home to view the deceased. New Jersey, like most other states, forces a prisoner to reimburse the system for overtime wages paid to the two guards who accompany him or her to the visit or viewing, plus mileage cost. The charge can be as high as $945.04 in New Jersey. It can take years to pay off a visit with a dying father or mother when you make less than $30 a month.
Chris Hedges (America: The Farewell Tour)
I am so tired. I know now why they drag out the ceremony of death. The vigils and praying and viewings and funeral and burial and meals and condolences and more. It's so you'll be so exhausted that you won't have that strength to be angry. So exhausted that you won't talk. So exhausted that when you see your Uncle Gordy and his daughters at the funeral, you won't remember why you hate him. So exhausted you won't remember to tremble for his daughters. So very exhausted that when they lower the pretty box into the frozen ground, you won't protest. Instead you'll say: Good riddance. Finally, it's over. Now can I please get some sleep?
Autumn Stringam (A Promise Of Hope: The Astonishing True Story of a Woman Afflicted With Bipolar Disorder and the Miraculous Treatment That Cured Her)
Think about the burdens sorrow so often brings to it's bearer. They think about all those years ago how they wondered how they would breathe, get up in the morning, live until the end of the week, when what they thought was a major tragedy had struck them. They think about the weight of loss, & how age has given them a view of life that is so much different than it was when they were 18, 28 or 38. They think about wisdom as being a gift from time, but they also know that often time skips a beat because no matter where you are in your life pattern, sorrow can cripple and maim the hearts and hands of anyone, 14 or 45 or 105. ... It doesn't matter sometimes, does it? ... You look at yourself in the mirror, see the laugh-lines getting longer, & think that you can handle life now. You can handle what it brings & where it takes you & that nothing, no pain will ever be as great as the one before it, But....
Kris Radish (Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral)
Faust also discusses the belief in salvation as a factor in nerving soldiers to face death with equanimity and as a source of comfort to their families. She cites the funeral sermon for a Massachusetts officer killed at Petersburg, in which the clergyman defined death as “the middle point between two lives.” But she seems inclined at times to view this conviction as the equivalent of grasping at straws—or, to change the metaphor, of whistling past the graveyard. Instead of a deeply held belief, it was for many soldiers and their families, she writes, the product of “distress and desire” to make tolerable the intolerable prospect of death. She also suggests the provocative idea that the vision of death as the middle point between two lives was a nineteenth-century version of a death-denying culture.
James M. McPherson (The War That Forged a Nation: Why the Civil War Still Matters)
Colt was pleased they'd chosen a closed casket. It was an occupational hazard that he'd seen more death than most and it was never pretty. Dead, was dead, it was unattractive, no matter who did the makeup or what outfit you chose and how much satin lined the casket. Colt thought viewing a dead body at a funeral home was one last but forced, indignity and he hated it.
Kristen Ashley (For You (The 'Burg, #1))
Pat and I felt rather insignificant in a throng that included not only England’s most important, famous, and titled citizens but also most of western Europe’s royalty and heads of state from all over the world. The marriage of the heir to the English throne was very much a grand state occasion, in contrast to the ball, which had been a private celebration. The relative intimacy of the ball and the chance to visit with Diana made the party the more dazzling experience for us that week. Nonetheless, our spirits were buoyed by the happy fact that we actually knew the bride. Given our lack of social or political stature, Pat and I had joked that our assigned seats were likely to be at the very back of the nave and behind a pillar. Silently, we gave each other wide-eyed looks of surprise as the usher led us slowly up and up the center aisle to seats under the famous crossing dome, less than a dozen rows from the very front of the nave. We were floored! We would have an unobstructed view of the ceremony taking place on the dais on the front edge of the choir. As we entered our row to the left, we noticed Mrs. Thatcher, somber in dark blue, on the aisle in the same row to the right. Once again, I regretted my timidity two nights earlier. Pat and I couldn’t understand how we had ended up so near to the front of the cathedral. We assumed some error had been made, but were grateful for the mistake. Years later, when I was in London for Diana’s funeral, I learned that she had been allowed only one hundred personal invitations to her own wedding. We must have been in that small group, fortunately placed near the front of the church. As we waited almost breathlessly for the ceremony to being, Pat and I gazed discreetly at our splendid surroundings and the other guests privileged to be inside the cathedral. Once again, we didn’t know a soul and we would only see Diana from a distance today.
Mary Robertson (The Diana I Knew: Loving Memories of the Friendship Between an American Mother and Her Son's Nanny Who Became the Princess of Wales)
But perhaps the most celebrated of these auto-incendiaries is Kalanos. You will remember, no doubt, that Kalanos (the Greek version of the Sanskrit Kalyāna) was an Indian ascetic—though not a Buddhist—who accompanied Alexander's army on its withdrawal from India. At a certain moment he announced that his time had come to die, and arranged for a funeral pyre to be constructed. He mounted the pyre, had it set alight, and, sitting cross-legged, remained motionless until his body was consumed by the flames. What an occasion! With the entire Greek army, and probably Alexander the Great himself, watching him; with each one of those hardened and undefeated veterans, themselves no stranger to pain and mutilations, wondering if he himself would be capable of such cold-blooded endurance: with the eyes of posterity upon him (his peculiar fame has come down for more than twenty centuries); and with the honour of Indian asceticism at stake (and Indian asceticism is India);—how could he fail? For a moment one could almost wish to have been Kalanos. And yet, from the point of view of Dhamma, all this is foolishness—a childish escapade.
Nanavira Thera
Medicine was religion. Religion was society. Society was medicine. Even economics were mixed up in there somewhere (you had to have or borrow enough money to buy a pig, or even a cow, in case someone got sick and a sacrifice was required), and so was music (if you didn't have a qeej player at your funeral, your soul wouldn't be guided on its posthumous travels, and it couldn't be reborn, and it might make your relatives sick). In fact, the Hmong view of health care seemed to me to be precisely the opposite of the prevailing American one, in which the practice of medicine has fissioned into smaller and smaller subspecialties, with less and less truck between bailiwicks. The Hmong carried holism to its ultima Thule. As my web of cross-references grew more and more thickly interlaced, I concluded that the Hmong preoccupation with medical issues was nothing less than a preocupation with life. (And death. And life after death).
Anne Fadiman (The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures)
A funeral is not death, any more than baptism is birth or marriage union. All three are the clumsy devices,
E.M. Forster (Howards End, The Longest Journey, A Room with a View, Where Angels Fear to Tread and The Machine Stops)
Silver confetti falls from the ceiling. The music launches again, and the sleek young mob dances feverishly, arms in the air. My head throbs along with the bass. Why had I agreed to this? I plug my ears with my fingers. I feel ridiculous beside these twenty-somethings. Marie and her friend apparently do not. They’re drinking the champagne and bopping their heads to the music. I watch a group of girls pucker for a photographer. They’re practically falling out of their tops. I hear Emily’s voice. Prude. “I have to go to the bathroom,” I tell Marie, and slide out of the booth. And I’m thinking of those catacombs, seemingly endless. I can see Emily, the version of her in that coffin. Embalming, the displacement of blood and interstitial fluids by embalming chemicals. I had looked the process up, after Mom insisted on a viewing. She was so beautiful, she cried. I want to see her one more time. The body is washed in disinfectant, limbs are massaged and manipulated, eyes glued closed, mouth and jaw secured with wires. The embalming solution contains dye to simulate a lifelike skin tone. A warm peach tone, the funeral director told us. I could barely stand it. I make my way to the second floor, where the music isn’t techno, only sultry R&B.
Liska Jacobs (The Worst Kind of Want)
Norris’s politics fit well with the Klan because he had a holistic view of how race, religion, morality, and politics fit together. Commenting on an interracial marriage that took place at a church in New York, Norris said, “I can name to you a people south of the Mason-Dixon Line that if a Negro should take a white girl’s hand in marriage that girl would be without a Negro husband before the sun arose the next morning.” Furthermore, said Norris, he would gladly perform the funeral. [100]
Andrew Himes (The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family)
funeral services took place with the casket open, so that the mourners were required to view the deceased while great things were said about him. It was an odd custom, one aimed at making the moment far more dramatic than necessary.
John Grisham (Gray Mountain)
Next Day Moving from Cheer to Joy, from Joy to All, I take a box And add it to my wild rice, my Cornish game hens. The slacked or shorted, basketed, identical Food-gathering flocks Are selves I overlook. Wisdom, said William James, Is learning what to overlook. And I am wise If that is wisdom. Yet somehow, as I buy All from these shelves And the boy takes it to my station wagon, What I’ve become Troubles me even if I shut my eyes. When I was young and miserable and pretty And poor, I’d wish What all girls wish: to have a husband, A house and children. Now that I’m old, my wish Is womanish: That the boy putting groceries in my car See me. It bewilders me he doesn’t see me. For so many years I was good enough to eat: the world looked at me And its mouth watered. How often they have undressed me, The eyes of strangers! And, holding their flesh within my flesh, their vile Imaginings within my imagining, I too have taken The chance of life. Now the boy pats my dog And we start home. Now I am good. The last mistaken, Ecstatic, accidental bliss, the blind Happiness that, bursting, leaves upon the palm Some soap and water-- It was so long ago, back in some Gay Twenties, Nineties, I don’t know . . . Today I miss My lovely daughter Away at school, my sons away at school, My husband away at work--I wish for them. The dog, the maid, And I go through the sure unvarying days At home in them. As I look at my life, I am afraid Only that it will change, as I am changing: I am afraid, this morning, of my face. It looks at me From the rear-view mirror, with the eyes I hate, The smile I hate. Its plain, lined look Of gray discovery Repeats to me: “You’re old.” That’s all, I’m old. And yet I’m afraid, as I was at the funeral I went to yesterday. My friend’s cold made-up face, granite among its flowers, Her undressed, operated-on, dressed body Were my face and body. As I think of her I hear her telling me How young I seem; I am exceptional; I think of all I have. But really no one is exceptional, No one has anything, I’m anybody, I stand beside my grave Confused with my life, that is commonplace and solitary.
Randall Jarrell
If, to use a simile, one views the growing work as a funeral pyre, its commentator can be likened to the chemist, its critic to an alchemist. While the former is left with wood and ashes as the sole objects of his analysis, the latter is concerned only with the enigma of the flame itself: the enigma of being alive. Thus the critic inquires about the truth whose living flame goes on burning over the heavy logs of the past and the light ashes of life gone by.
Walter Benjaminnj
If, to use a simile, one views the growing work as a funeral pyre, its commentator can be likened to the chemist, its critic to an alchemist. While the former is left with wood and ashes as the sole objects of his analysis, the latter is concerned only with the enigma of the flame itself: the enigma of being alive. Thus the critic inquires about the truth whose living flame goes on burning over the heavy logs of the past and the light ashes of life gone by.
Walter Benjamin
And I am aware of her failings as well. She was impatient, she did not tolerate foolishness or indecision. Too often she did not listen to the views of others, and she was hasty in her judgment, but when she was wrong she apologized.” His voice softened and he blinked rapidly. “She was a creature of high idealism,
Anne Perry (Funeral in Blue (William Monk, #12))
It’s beautiful to me now, both the ideal and the reality. I choose the reality and I choose the ideal: I hold them both. I believe in ministering within imperfect structures. I believe in teaching Sunday school and chaperoning youth lock-ins, in carpooling seniors and vacuuming the vestry. I believe in church libraries and “just checking on you” phone calls, in the mundane daily work that creates a community on purpose. I believe in taking college girls out for coffee, in showing up at weddings, in bringing enchiladas to new mothers, in hospital committees, in homemade dainties at the funeral reception. I believe we don’t give enough credit to the ones who stay put in slow-to-change structures and movements because they change within relationship, because they take a long and a high view of time. I believe in the ones who do the whole elder board and deacon election thing, in the ones who argue for church constitutional changes and consensus building. This is not work for the faint of heart. I believe the work of the ministry is often misunderstood, the Church is a convenient scapegoat. Heaven knows, church has been my favorite nebulous nonentity to blame, a diversionary tactic from the mirror perhaps. A lot of people in my generation might be giving up on Church, but there are a lot of us returning, redefining, reclaiming Church too. We aren’t foolish or blind or unconcerned or uneducated or unthinking. We have weighed our choices, more than anyone will know. We are choosing this and we will keep choosing each other. And sometimes our way of understanding or “doing” church looks very different, but we’re still here. I know some of us are meant to go, some are meant to stay, and most of us do a bit of both in a lifetime. Jesus doesn’t belong to church people. But church people belong to Him, in Him, and through Him. I hope we all wrestle. I hope we look deep into our hearts and sift through our theology, our methodology, our praxis, our ecclesiology, all of it. I hope we get angry and that we say true things. I hope we push back against celebrity and consumerism; I hope we live into our birthright as a prophetic outpost for the Kingdom. I hope we get our toes stepped on and then forgive. I hope we become open-hearted and open-armed. I hope we are known as the ones who love. I hope we change. I hope we grow. I hope we push against the darkness and let the light in and breathe into the Kingdom come. I hope we become a refuge for the weary and the pilgrim, for the child and the aged, for the ones who have been strong too long. And I hope we all live like we are loved. I hope we all become a bit more inclined to listen, to pray, to wait.
Sarah Bessey (Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith)
Americans of the West surrendered Pahaska to his final slumber. Pahaska, Farewell." Some twenty-five thousand people toiled up the mountainside to pay their respects. Three thousand automobiles (which included some Sells-Floto circus wagons) also climbed the mountain that day, not without strain, for cars of that time were not the powerful machines we know, and the Lariat Trail they followed, while a splendid achievement for 1913, was daunting. "The roads are excellent in their wealth of view," wrote Fowler. "At first the pitch of the road is gradual. It becomes more abrupt on the ascent. Its trend is ever upward." Mrs. Cody had to stop and rest before reaching the summit. "It was a remarkable funeral," continued Fowler. "There was a circus atmosphere about the whole thing. A lot of us drank straight rye from bottles while speeches were being made by expert liars. Six of the Colonel's surviving sweethearts-now obese and sagging with memories-sat on camp chairs beside the grave. . . . The glass over the Colonel's amazingly handsome face began to steam on the inside. . . . One of the old Camilles rose from her camp chair. . . . Then, as though
Robert A. Carter (Buffalo Bill Cody: The Man Behind the Legend)
I can’t resist free coffee, like when I was at that funeral chapel. I wasn’t really at the chapel, just walking by. The door was open, and so was the casket. People crying. Bunch of folding chairs. Guess it was a viewing. Then I see the big silver coffee urn in back. Next thing I know: ‘What the hell are you doing?’ I say: ‘Drinking free coffee.’ ‘Did you know the deceased?’ ‘Not remotely.’ ‘I want you to leave.’ ‘Right after I get a refill.’ ‘No! Get the fuck out now!’ I said, ‘Have some respect: There’s an old dead guy up there.’ ‘That’s my mother!’ ‘Then you have a refund coming. They did a messed-up job. Of course I didn’t know what she looked like before, so maybe it’s a great job.’ ‘Why you—!’ Then all these guys attacked me. Well, tried to, but they didn’t anticipate my triple-threat martial-arts weapons training. I can handle a folding chair like nunchakus. Except I lost my grip and the thing went flying. I tried to explain that the old woman was already dead so it didn’t matter that the Samsonite hit her in the coffin. Things like that always seem to happen when I drink coffee. It’s weird.
Tim Dorsey (Nuclear Jellyfish (Serge Storms Mystery, #11))
From the moment any of us utter our first goo-goo's and ga-ga's, we are as good as gone. At that precise instant, any possibility that It will ever arise in us is irrevocably crushed. If any proof is needed, consider how immune to strong emotion our society has grown. At your next visit to the local funeral parlor, glance at the mourners, who can more properly be defined as spectators. Notice how they smell, how well-dressed and dignified they are. This is because viewing the dead has become overwhelmingly acceptable as a social function. Yes, even the corpse is part of the festivities, lying there as the guest of honor, laid out in his best clothes, pumped full of chemicals and smeared with make-up as the patrons file by and nurse their long buried consciences with silk handkerchiefs.
Donald Jeffries (The Unreals)
Now you know why it was so hard for me to let go of one more thing...the land, the view, a sense of something...one thing just staying the way it should be. Control.
Kris Radish (Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral)
Now you know why it was so hard for me to let go of one more thing...the land, the view, a sense of something...one thing just staying the way it should be. ... I'm tired, tired of losing ground, of losing control, of losing so many people that I love.
Kris Radish (Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral)
Given our lack of social or political stature, Pat and I had joked that our assigned seats were likely to be at the very back of the nave and behind a pillar. Silently, we gave each other wide-eyed looks of surprise as the usher led us slowly up and up the center aisle to seats under the famous crossing dome, less than a dozen rows from the very front of the nave. We were floored! We would have an unobstructed view of the ceremony taking place on the dais on the front edge of the choir. As we entered our row to the left, we noticed Mrs. Thatcher, somber in dark blue, on the aisle in the same row to the right. Once again, I regretted my timidity two nights earlier. Pat and I couldn’t understand how we had ended up so near to the front of the cathedral. We assumed some error had been made, but were grateful for the mistake. Years later, when I was in London for Diana’s funeral, I learned that she had been allowed only one hundred personal invitations to her own wedding. We must have been in that small group, fortunately placed near the front of the church.
Mary Robertson (The Diana I Knew: Loving Memories of the Friendship Between an American Mother and Her Son's Nanny Who Became the Princess of Wales)
It was her concern and commitment to a friend which last year involved her in perhaps the most emotional period of her life. For five months she secretly helped to care for Adrian Ward-Jackson who had discovered that he was suffering from AIDS. It was a time of laughter, joy and much sorrow as Adrian, a prominent figure in the world of art, ballet and opera, gradually succumbed to his illness. A man of great charisma and energy, Adrian initially found it difficult to come to terms with his fate when in the mid-1980s he was diagnosed as HIV positive. His word as deputy chairman of the Aids Crisis Trust, where he first met the Princess, had made him fully aware of the reality of the disease. Finally he broke the news in 1987 to his great friend Angela Serota, a dancer with the Royal Ballet until a leg injury cut short her career and now prominent in promoting dance and ballet. For much of the time, Angela, a woman of serenity and calm practicality, nursed Adrian, always with the support of her two teenage daughters. He was well enough to receive a CBE at Buckingham Palace in March 1991 for his work in the arts--he was a governor of the Royal Ballet, chairman of the Contemporary Arts Society and a director of the Theatre Museum Association--and it was at a celebratory lunch held at the Tate Gallery that Angela first met the Princess. In April 1991 Adrian’s condition deteriorated and he was confined to his Mayfair apartment where Angela was in almost constant attendance. It was from that time that Diana made regular visits, once even brining her children Princes Willian and Harry. From that time Angela and the Princess began to forge a supportive bond as they cared for their friend. Angela recalls: “I thought she was utterly beautiful in a very profound way. She has an inner spirit which shines forth though there was also a sense of pervasive unhappiness about her. I remember loving the way she never wanted me to be formal.” When Diana brought the boys to see her friends, a reflection of her firmly held belief that her role as mother is to bring them up in a way that equips them for every aspect of life and death, Angela saw in William a boy much older and more sensitive than his years. She recalls: “He had a mature view of illness, a perspective which showed awareness of love and commitment.” At first Angela kept in the background, leaving Diana alone in Adrian’s room where they chatted about mutual friends and other aspects of life. Often she brought Angela, whom she calls “Dame A”, a gift of flowers or similar token. She recalls: “Adrian loved to hear about her day-to-day work and he loved too the social side of life. She made him laugh but there was always the perfect degree of understanding, care and solicitude. This is the point about her, she is not just a decorative figurehead who floats around on a cloud of perfume.” The mood in Mount Street was invariably joyous, that sense of happiness that understands about pain. As Angela says: “I don’t see death as sad or depressing. It was a great journey he was going on. The Princess was very much in tune with that spirit. She also loved coming for herself, it was an intense experience. At the same time Adrian was revitalized by the healing quality of her presence.” Angela read from a number of works by St. Francis of Assisi, Kahil Gibran and the Bible as well as giving Adrian frequent aromatherapy treatments. A high spot was a telephone call from Mother Teresa of Calcutta who also sent a medallion via Indian friends. At his funeral they passed Diana a letter from Mother Teresa saying how much she was looking forward to meeting her when she visited India. Unfortunately Mother Teresa was ill at that time so the Princess made a special journey to Rome where she was recuperating. Nonetheless that affectionate note meant a great deal to the Princess.
Andrew Morton (Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words)
James Connolly (1868-1916), an Irish republican and socialist leader who a British firing squad executed for his role in the Easter Rising said that there is no conscience in warfare. ''It would be well to realize that all the talk of ‘humane methods of warfare,’ of the ‘rules of civilized warfare,’ and all such homage to the finer sentiments of the race is hypocritical and unreal, and only intended for the consumption of stay-at-homes. There are no humane methods of warfare, there is no such thing as civilized warfare; all warfare is inhuman, all warfare is barbaric; the first blast of the bugles of war ever sounds for the time being the funeral knell of human progress…What a lover of humanity can view with anything but horror this ruthless destruction of human life. Yet this is war: war for which all the jingoes are howling, war to which all the hopes of the world are being sacrificed, war to which a mad ruling class would plunge a mad world.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)