Kiss the Corpse

Hubby’s great uncle died last week, and I really liked the great uncle. His death wasn’t unexpected as he had Lou Gehrig’s disease. The funeral was this week. The services have been going on for two days because he was Greek Orthodox. I’ve never been to one of those services. There’s a lot of incense and chanting. They also had something called a Mercy Meal, which included food. That was pretty good. The one part of the deal that was not so good was the part where they lined up last night to kiss the corpse in the coffin. Now, I loved the old man as much or more than anybody in that church, but that dead body they had up there in that titanium casket with the jaws clipped shut was nothing more than just that – a dead body. I didn’t line up, and I didn’t kiss it.

For the record, I don’t have anything against smooching and smooching slightly weird things. I kiss my dog all the time, and sometimes the little imp sneaks in a French kiss. She’s been known to be fond of the cat poo hor d’oeuvres too. I still kiss her, but a cadaver. Nopes.

Today the Father Friar starts the service by whipping out a headband, placing it on the dead uncle and talking about how important it is that everyone kiss the dead guy. He looks right at me and pulls the pregnant pause out of his big monk sleeve and holds it above his head and waits. Everyone in the church see the pregnant pause, knows all about it and turns to stare at me. “KISS THE DEAD UNCLE,” they all think. It has something to do with saying good-bye and yadda yadda about our sins and his, or something. But ya know. It really doesn’t. I said good-bye to the uncle when he was alive, the last time I saw him. I made my peace with him. All that they are kissing is dead cells full of embalming fluid. His spirit is gone.

So, at the end of the service today, the church lined up and planted one on him. They waited a bit on me until they figured out I didn’t buy into the program. Afterwards, a few of them asked me what religion I was. I think they wanted to know what sort of programming would stop me from doing such a thing as specifically instructed by their Supreme Religiousness. I told them I was an “Accidental Buddhist.” That statement blew straight over the heads of the questioners so they continued and asked what church I belonged to. I told them, “None. I affiliate myself with the church on the corner by my house. It’s my favorite church, but I don’t belong.” That got rid of most of them, except one 88 year old lady who totally got it and said, “Perhaps you would like to join our church.” I laughed at the thought at me chanting and kissing corpses. I tried to change the subject and told the remarkably fit lady she had the body of dancer. As it turned out, she had been.

Tomorrow, Father Friar, or whatever his holiness’s title is, is supposed to come to the uncle and aunt’s house and help us load the truck with the aunt’s furnishings. The 94 year old aunt is leaving and moving South to be near her children. It is the end of something. I’m not sure what. The uncle’s life. Part of my life. I’m hoping His Holiness in Charge of Cadaver Kissing doesn’t show because if I hear one peep out of him about the kissing, I know myself well enough to know there’s going to be an F-bomb dropped on his foot in the garage by the tool bin. As part of the bereaved family, I feel it is my prerogative, kind of like sitting on the front row while they lower the casket into the ground.

6 Responses to “Kiss the Corpse”

  1. Different religions do some strange things. Different countries have some strange customs and laws. In Germany you don’t buy a plot. You lease it. Normally for 25 years. After that time you extend the lease or they remove the headstone, take out the body (Don’t ask, I don’t know what they do with it) and re-lease it to someone else. Crazy, huh?

  2. THAT is crazy. Why would you bury someone for 25 years? Oh well, let’s stick Dad in the ground for 25 years and then not pay the bill. Personally I’m all for cremation, but I can see these people who just don’t pay their bills and Mom and Dad get kicked to the curb – literally.

  3. Yeah, crazy. And in Germany, its mandatory that people get buried in a cemetery. No keeping the urn at home or tossing the ashes into the sea. Is it a way of making money? Probably.

  4. Sounds weird. But sounds like a racket to me. But what’s weird is the 25 years part. I’m cheap. I’d let the thing go after 25 years.

  5. My insight on kissing dead things…

    In my life I’ve had loved ones die, and I make it a point to let them know while they are still alive that I love them, and tell them what an impact they had on my life, and when they die I pay my respects at their funeral, I may even look skyward and have a conversation with them after they pass, but I’m not kissing the empty shell that was them, nope, not gonna do it, and ya can’t make me.

  6. I’m so with ya on that one, Sistah.

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