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Parent's Generation
Three Generations of Family Funerals

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Intro. and Grandmother's Generation | Parent's Generation | My Generation and Conclusion

Abuela Ñico and My Father in Cuba
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Abuelo Ñico, My Father, and Abuela Juana
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     After I had conversed with my grandmother about her experiences, I finally got to speak with my parents about the funerals they attended when they were young adults. My fathers dad, whom my brother would call Abuelo Yico, died before I was born. He suffered from manic depression which, unfortunately, was passed down from his mother. He then committed suicide when he arrived to the Americas from Cuba. I was told that my grandfather was a great man and I wish I would have had the chance to meet him. He loved my father very much and in turn, so did my father love him. My parents just had my brother and they were in their mid to late 20's when this event happened. Since technology and society has evolved from one generation to another and from one country to another, the funeral practices differ but still share some common ideas. Like in my grandmothers experience, there is still a wake, or vigil, held for that person. However, instead of being held in the persons house, it is now held in a funeral home, which handles both the wake and the burial. My grandfather was already in the casket and had gone through the process of embalming before he was placed for viewing. The morticians had also even applied a little makeup to make him look presentable and peaceful and not so ghastly. My father also said that before one walks into the room in which the body is kept, there is a small podium that holds a guest book along with a pen so that family and friends can write their name and the immediate family can keep as a keepsake.

     The viewing usually starts at around 5 or 6 oclock and lasts until the next day with the closest of kin staying over the whole night until the burial. My father said it was a really long night and that he could not sleep very much at all. The morning following the wake, the immediate family was taken in a stretch limo riding behind the limo with the casket along with a parade of cars that pertained to other family members and friends. As they arrived at the burial grounds, the men of the family or even close friends, helped to remove the casket from the limo and placed it on a device that would lower the casket down to the hole in which was dug for the corpse. After this a priest would pray and give a special blessing for the loved one lost and for the family. My dad stated that some of the women of the family were then given flowers from one of the arrangements so that they could place on top of the casket. The priest then blessed the casket with holy water, everyone said their final goodbyes, and then watched as the casket slowly went down into the 6 foot hole. The mourning process, however, has changed dramatically over the years. In my grandfathers case, no one dressed in all black for years or did any of that. They showed their mourn in their own humble way, and gradually got used to the fact that their loved one was no longer with them.

     Like in my grandmothers version of a funeral during her young adult life in Cuba, there was not one song or any type of music that was played during my grandfathers funeral ceremony. I did, however, ask my dad the same question I did my grandmother; if there was any song that reminded him of his fathers passing. Though his answer might sound quite strange, I guess I have no choice. Billy Joels song titled "Uptown Girl" was the song that helped him remember his fathers death. Like my grandmothers story, that song was very popular during the time of my grandfathers demise. There is a part of the song , however, that reminds him of heaven and to him, almost sounds angelic. The series of "ohhs" in different tones within the song is that one part. Though it really has no sentimental value with the person deceased, this song plays a key role in my fathers remembrance of his fathers passing.

Abuelo Ñico and My Father
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Abuelo Ñico and Abuela Juana
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Uptown Girl

By Billy Joel

    Uptown girl
She's been living in her uptown world
I bet she never had a back street guy
I bet her mama never told her why
    I'm gonna try for an uptown girl
She's been living in her white bread world
As long as anyone with hot blood can
And now she's looking for a downtown man
That's what I am
    And when she knows what
She wants from her time
And when she wakes up
And makes up her mind
    She'll see I'm not so tough
Just because
I'm in love with an uptown girl
You know I've seen her in her uptown world
She's getting tired of her high class toys
And all her presents from her uptown boys
She's got a choice
    Uptown girl
You know I can't afford to buy her pearls
But maybe someday when my ship comes in
She'll understand what kind of guy I've been
And then I'll win
    And when she's walking
She's looking so fine
And when she's talking
She'll say that she's mine
    She'll say I'm not so tough
Just because
I'm in love
With and uptown girl
She's been living in her white bread world
As long as anyone with hot blood can
And now she's looking for a downtown man
That's what I am
    Uptown girlShe's my uptown girl
You know I'm in love
With an uptown girl
    My uptown girl
Don't You know I'm in love
With an uptown girl
My uptown girl
Don't You know I'm in love
With an uptown girl
My uptown girl