So the previously mentioned funeral went just fine. My pirated mix of gospel and xian 'inspirational' tracks was a big hit apparently (see prev. blog). I'm told she would have really liked it.
The day did leave me thinking quite a bit though. Not about mortality, the meaning of life or any of that typical stuff. I started to wonder what kind of funeral, if any, will be had for me...and will my 99% theist family feel obliged to follow my desire to not have one?
The service was at a evangelical lutheran church. Lutherns, around here at least, come off to me as being some of the most open minded theists I've ever met. Perhaps it's different elsewhere but here in Minnesota I think they're fairly progressive...or at least pliable enough to be tolerable. Even the evangelicals seem to shrug and give a communal 'meh' at issues that other groups might be up in arms over. (gay and lesbian seminary students as an example. The lutheran establishment here has taken a firm "we're ok with that" stand)
Aside from my father I was the only atheist in the room (100+ people) and it was terribly awkward. I felt like I was pretending. I'm not shy about my beliefs but considering this was a family affair and extremely important to most everyone there I was OK with playing along...for the most part.
I think open caskets are a bit morbid and the entire process feels wholly antiquated to me. It's a ritual that I don't understand or feel the need to take part in. My grandmother was a good person, lived a full and happy life. I have fond memories of her and will miss seeing her smiling face at our various family gatherings. The last time I saw her was on July 4th for our annual "eat and watch things explode in the air" gathering. Good times were had and I felt the need to preserve that as the last time I saw her. Seeing her dead and made-up in a box would be counter productive.
The ritual of it all, from the 'viewing' right up to the traditional hot-dish luncheon at the local VFW, is what got me thinking. I feel no need for ritually passing a person into death, nor do I want one.
Take my corpse for science, cut me to little pieces so that some aspiring professional can learn. Take the good bits and give them to someone that can put them to use (assuming I'll have any good bits left at that point). After that throw the rest in an oven and dispose of the waste according to state and local laws...it's just a corpse.