The newscast tonight shared some important developments in bereavement. Apparently, drive- through funerals are now a reality.
What in the world? Everyone make the "what in the world" face with me - I need backup.
This little bit o' news needed further investigation. Guess what? This isn't new news at all; it isn't the first funeral home to add the drive-through. Gatling's Chapel in Chicago has a drive through and it has push button viewing of the chapel where the body lies in state. Adams Funeral Home in Compton, California, has one, too.
I have so many questions.
Does it cost the same as a regular funeral? Do you send flowers? Could you just send a postcard with a picture of fabulous flowers - and have them tack it to a cork coffin liner? Do you have to line up in the drive-through in a certain order to view the dearly departed? Immediate family first? Or does the next of kin have to stand in the window and wave? Are there drive-through cremations?
Paradise Funeral Chapel in Saginaw commented on the need for their drive-through when they told the tale of an elderly woman who was unable to attend her husband's funeral: "She would've a chance to see him if we had this, so I knew we had to move forward."
OH, GEE WHIZ, STOP IT! That quote ended all serious investigation for me. This is where we turn the car around and head away from Crazytown. I'm jaded, I'll admit, but this sounds more and more like McFuneral's and less like a memorial for a loved one the more I think about it.
My Two Cents:
Society has become adept at giving sympathetic sounding excuses for actions that lack common decency. If you're able to get an elderly woman in a car, and she'll have to get back out of the car later - why can't you help her get out of the car at the funeral home? I've seen quadriplegics at funerals. Sounds like a family issue...
It is her husband - I can't imagine that woman didn't want to attend the funeral, anymore than I can imagine a funeral home director, sympathetic to her plight, telling her, "We'll put a drive in window for you to take a peek in the coffin. Just for you."
If you don't want to attend a funeral, don't. Many people are uncomfortable at memorial services, for a variety of reasons. I get it. Send a nice card or flowers. Call the family and speak to them. It's the least you can do, if you have any relationship to the family. Give them a small amount of time.
Most of us are only going to die once, agreed? I promise I won't burden you further. In fact, I've already planned mine and issued invitations - remember, there will be balloon animals and karaoke - check out the post My Funeral (This is Your Invitation).
If you're not a friend, who wants you at the funeral anyhow? Funerals are a very personal time for a family and friends to say their goodbyes. Why put on airs, as my grandma used to say. Somehow, committing (ahem) to driving by the deceased doesn't really earn you the big brownie points you'll need to get friend status, especially if I'm handing them out.
Are you really so busy that you can't get out of the car at a funeral? Stay home.