How Necessary Are “Memorial Services”?

When my darling wife passed away last year, some people wondered why I didn’t have some kind of memorial service. Sally and I did not want funerals and she made a point to tell me that prior to her passing.

We lived for 13 years in the same area. We made some friends, but our families were spread out. We never had children as I think it just wasn’t meant to be. Therefore, I was mostly on my own to handle final arrangements.

There was one day in the spring that we had someone from the local funeral home come to our home to discuss her wishes.  Sally made her decisions and I went along with them, including not having a funeral. I just couldn’t believe that was happening. I still can’t.

Sally never attended any memorial-type service, including the ones involving close relatives. I went to two of them in my lifetime and found the experiences to be draining and upsetting. I just couldn’t bring myself to put together that type of event, or ask someone else to do it. Perhaps others will differ, even strongly, but I stand by my decisions and respected her wishes.

It was also extremely difficult to go to the funeral home and pick up her ashes. Again, I as on my own for this and even trying to remember that event is a bit of a fog. I also had to set a time and place to spread her ashes. It took about 4 months after her passing for me to go to the spot that she wanted to have this done.

My sister, who is also named Sally, flew down from Oregon to go with me on a 2-hour drive, one way, to the location to spread her ashes. It was one of her favorite spots and I would want my ashes to be spread in the same one when my time comes.

The night before the trip, I wanted to be certain that I can properly open the container. It was sealed too well and I had to literally get a hammer and screw drive to open up the bottom. Someone messed that one up. I don’t want to say this was becoming comical, but I could see Sally laughing as some of the ash “poofed out” and went all over, including on me when we got the thing open.

The small container, which is one she would like, still sits in my room. I know there’s a tiny bit of ash left as it was impossible to get all of it out. No, it wasn’t put in a plastic bag like they supposed to be, but I’m okay with that.

After this experience, I’m even more determined to say that I would not want a funeral or memorial service when my day arrives. I did tell a few people, though, if you want to have a big party with lots of wine, then make it a good one.20171011_125836

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