Funeral Frustration: A Conversation of a Sort

funeral conversation

Here’s a throw back from five years ago when I witnessed a humorous exchange made more hilarious by its location: a funeral home.

Originally published April 6, 2011

Technically, the funeral had not yet begun.  Sure, people were sitting quietly in their seats and the organist was playing, but the family wasn’t even back yet. (They were taking a break between the visitation and the actual service.) So, really: it hadn’t started.

Still, it was awfully quiet when the somber funeral directors, hands folded behind them, heads bowed, walked solemnly down the aisle to close the casket. It didn’t seem like the ideal time to strike up a conversation.

“They lock the casket,” she said quietly, lifting her frail frame slightly so she could speak directly into the man’s ear. She’d completed at least eight decades of life already, perhaps the last six at this man’s side. The couple sat together at the end of the pew. His suit had seen better days; her white crocheted wrap hung loosely around her shoulders. Both wore bifocals, but only he sported a pair of super-sized hearing aids.

He turned, acknowledging her. “I didn’t hear what’cha said about the casket,” he countered, not as quietly as she.

She lifted herself again. “I said, ‘They lock it.’” She said it a little louder this time then relaxed back into her stooped posture and turned to face the aforementioned casket.

He tilted toward her. “They what?” His voice carried a hint of frustration.

She turned, nearly colliding with his octogenarian earlobe. “They LOCK it,” she said, plenty loud.

“What?” This time, pure aggravation punctuated the man’s question.

Her lips now approached his inner ear. “I said they LOCK the casket,” she replied, all pretense of decorum gone from her tone. “They L-O-C-K it.”

(You see, if someone can’t hear you, for heaven’s sake, spell it. That will clear things right up.)

She was back facing front now, her shoulders drooping just below the pew back. He faced front too, arms crossed. He leaned ever so slightly in her direction, saying, “Huh. Well. That shore’ don’t seem necessary.”

 . . . what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. `Matthew 10:27 NRSV

By Aileen MItchell Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 35 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.