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My Generation and Conclusion
Three Generations of Family Funerals


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

My Aunt and My Uncle

My Aunt, Mima, Pipo, My Uncle and My Cousin

     In some instances, funeral ceremonies, from my parents time to mine, have not changed all that much. With a few minor differences here and there, tradition has pretty much stayed constant. A little more than a year ago, on February 15, 2003, my uncle died in an unfortunate automobile accident. My cousin, who was 14 at the time, along with my aunt and another family of three, were heading to a karate competition in Tampa, Florida. One of the back tires had just shredded as they were traveling along Alligator Ally causing the car to loose control and flip various times. Four people were ejected and two remained in the car. Unfortunately, my cousins friends mother was killed along with my uncle. The little boy, his stepfather, my aunt, and my cousin were the only survivors from the deadly crash. That could possibly be the worst day of our familys lives.

     Coming back from picking up my cousin and aunt in Naples, we were already thinking about funeral arrangements. Unfortunately, when people suffer from horrible accidents, it might have to be a closed casket viewing. For this instance, we decided to go for open casket since they had fixed him up real well. They also went through the process of embalming and continued by applying some makeup since he had bumps and bruises from the accident. All around the casket there was also many flower arrangements given by family and friends as well as a guest book so that all these people could sign in. However, in this case, the viewing did not last all night until the next morning. But instead, everyone went home and came back the next day, at the same funeral home, for the burial. As in my parents time, there was also a long funeral procession leading all the way to the cemetery. Once again the priest said his final blessing and we all sat in tears watching as that was the last time that we would ever see my uncle again.

     My uncles funeral seems closely related to that of my grandfathers except that we do not spend the night anymore. Everything pertaining to the limo drive, the burial, and the vigil stays the pretty much the same. However, I attended this one funeral , not too long ago, that has left me in bewilderment. I have danced ballet for many years and a good friend of mine that danced along with me had been helping her mother fight cancer for about a year. However, her cancer was not caught on time and it spread around her body. She died soon thereafter it came in contact with her liver. As I walked into the funeral home, it was like something that I had never seen before. Both in my uncle and grandfathers funeral, music, or any sorts of pictures of the person, was not used in the ceremony. However, the first thing I see when I walk in is a huge collage dedicated to her mother, with pictures of her and her class (she was a teacher), her family and friends, and when she was on vacation and dancing or just having fun. As I continued to walk there was this huge screen with a projector showing a slide show of her mother including pictures of times in her life where they showed that she was having the most fun, along with music playing in the background so that everyone could see and hear. They tried to portray her as a happy soul who accepted the fact that it was her time to go; and they accomplished just that.

     Though a bit elaborate with the music and all of those picture, it was understandable that they wanted the passing of their mother and wife to be a pleasant remembrance of the beautiful life they shared together. It was not a "goodbye", but more like a "see you soon". Though I can not remember the song that was playing during the slide show at my friends mother funeral, there is a song that reminds me of my uncles passing. "In the Arms of the Angel" by Sarah Mclachlan reminds me of my uncle and how he is know in the arms of an angel, far away from any harm or chaos that this world could bring. This actually made it easier for me to cope with the loss of such a great uncle, father, husband, and friend.

     Each generation has certain characteristics, in both the ceremony and the songs they chose, that helps distinguish them from among each other. My grandmothers grandmother had a unique vigil held in the living room of her house, however, since she had no song for her grandmother, she gave me a song for her late husband. The song that reminds her of my grandfather was his favorite song that they shared together right before he passed away. My father, on the other hand, held the wake at a funeral home along with ceratin close relatives, and stayed the entire night until the next day for the burial. The song that he chose for his father actually had nothing to do with him, but it was popular tune at the time that he passed on. Lastly, my funeral experiences have gone from one extreme to the other. Though we no longer stay the whole night, like in my grandfathers funeral, everything still manages to stay the same as seen in my uncles ceremony. However, at my friends mothers funeral, things have really changed. Music was never a part of any funeral my grandmother, parents, or even I for that matter, had attended. All of a sudden a huge projector screen with pictures and music introduced people to the life of my friends mother.

     As time passed on, these ceremonies became a lot shorter and more detailed as technology took over. From not having the process of embalming, to music and pictures coming from computers to light up the screens. The mourning process, however, has seemed to not show itself as it did back when my grandmother was a young adult. Each individual, in these days, just rather handle their mourn in their own way. The attitude toward death as seen in my uncle, grandfather, and great-great grandmothers funeral ceremony, has remained pretty much the same. No celebration or music is used for out of respect to the loved one lost along with it, being a time of silence and reflection. However, my friends mothers funeral brought a whole new light into the darkness. Since many funeral ceremonies are usually depressing and sad, this one embraced the life that was lost and the fact that she is now in a better place through the slide show and music. The attitude was more uplifting during this ceremony and it assured everyone there that she really lived a happy life, but unfortunately, it was her time to go.

My Aunt and My Uncle holding My Brother

In the Arms of the Angel

By Sarah Mclachlan

    Spend all your time waiting
for that second chance
for a break that would make it okay
there's always some reason
to feel not good enough
and it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
oh beautiful release
memories seep from my veins
let me be empty
oh and weightless then maybe
I'll find some peace tonight
    In the arms of the angel
fly away from here
from this dark cold hotel room
and the endlessness that you feel
you are pulled from the wreckage
of your silent reverie
you're in the arms of the angel
may you find some comfort here
    So tired of the straight line
and everywhere you turn
there's vultures and thieves at your back
the storm keeps on twisting
you keep on building the lies
that you make up for all that you lack
it don't make no difference
escaping one last time
it's easier to believe
in this sweet madness oh
this glorious sadness that brings me to my knees
    In the arms of the angel
fly away from here
from this dark cold hotel room
and the endlessness that you feel
you are pulled from the wreckage
of your silent reverie
you're in the arms of the angel
may you find some comfort here
you're in the arms of the angel
may you find some comfort here