December 21, 2006

Disturbing scenes

Okay, I need some other opinions. Today they had the funeral and visitation for the baby that died last week. I did not attend the visitation or funeral because I didnít know her all that well. We needed to have some management stay in the building, and I thought it was Friday this morning so I wasnít dressed appropriately. Not everyone went to the funeral; some just went to the visitation. As they returned EVERYONE described the scene like this:

ďThe baby wasnít in the casket. (The Mother) sat there holding the baby, rocking it back and forth. She would smile at him and talk to him as if he were alive at times.Ē

Iíve never been to the funeral for an infant before. So Iím not sure what the protocol is, but this whole macabre scene not only made me concerned for the motherís mental health, but also disturbed many of the visitors. Even a guy I know that is pretty stout willed found the scene kind of disturbing.

I didnít get to speak to anyone that was at the funeral before I left work today, but Iím wondering if the mother made a scene at the internment. From what Iíve heard and some other stuff I donít want to share due to the private nature of it, Iím concerned she is going to need a lot of serious mental health counseling. Iím not talking about seeing a guy two nights a week; Iím talking inpatient in a ward.

I know the grieving is normal, but is the whole display with the baby usual?

Posted by Contagion in Things that make me go, "GUH?!?!" at December 21, 2006 06:14 PM | TrackBack

I'm not sure. But I would have been a bit taken back by it.

But I've never been to a funeral. So I don't know protocol.

Posted by: Sissy at December 21, 2006 07:41 PM

Grieving is very personal. We Americans want it to be proper...not uncomfortable. Recall Jackie O. walking stoically, head covered by her long flowing black veil, behind President Kennedy's caisson. That's what the public thinks is appropriate...stiff upper lip and all. Time will tell what this woman needs emotionally. Currently she needs acceptance from those who witness her pain. Of course, that's just my opinion.

Posted by: h~ at December 21, 2006 11:13 PM

Wow. I've been to more funerals than I care to have, but that scene takes the cake. I've never heard of such a thing...

And yes, I'd find it terribly disturbing to witness as well. Yikes!

Posted by: Bitterroot at December 21, 2006 11:20 PM

This isn't normal at all. Of course, there is nothing "normal" about having to bury a child- that is NOT the natural order of things. But it is pretty macabre. I hope that young woman has someone in her life that can keep a close eye on her.

Posted by: Raging Mom at December 22, 2006 06:33 AM

I have been to a funeral for an infant (6 months old) and the parents held a private meeting with their child before it was put into the casket where they held it and said their goodbyes to him.

The casket was closed and then the funeral services began, with the infant in the closed casket.

But let me tell you, seeing a casket that small freaked me and my husband out. It isn't something I ever want to see again. That in itself was disturbing to me

Posted by: Quality Weenie at December 22, 2006 07:38 AM

I've been to a baby's funeral as well, and no the mother didn't do that. However I am sure she held the baby prior. How heartbreaking to lose a child. I too hope someone is there for her to watch over her and lend a helping hand.

Posted by: oddybobo at December 22, 2006 08:01 AM

The two funerals I've been to for infants, one was an open cradle casket and the other was a closed casket graveside. Neither of the mothers or the fathers did that but I'm sure they were given adequate time before hand to say goodbye. She may need grief counseling.

Posted by: Maranda Rites at December 22, 2006 05:13 PM

I am afraid I would do the same...

even if my baby was no longer a baby.

also I do think this is "normal" for a Mother (until TV came along, and now "we do what we see on TV")

I read a lot of diaries by women, from all time periods...

and I have read a lot of heartbreaking accounts of Mothers who experiance the death of a child. A good example of this would be during the western expansion of The United States...many women who lost infants stayed behind with the grave, unable to move forward.

What seems perfectly abnormal and macabre to some of us..

I NEVER want to know that sort of pain....

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at December 23, 2006 12:30 AM

I was once told "No Parent should live longer than their child"

The same man later told me no parent should have to bury their child.

I saw his reaction, and his child was 47 years old.

I can't imagine having to bury one of this age. I'm with AWTM, I'd be hard pressed to not do the same.

Posted by: BloodSpite at December 23, 2006 09:08 AM

Grieving of a lost child has to be difficult. I also know that the parents want time with the child and are going to be very emotional.

I don't know much about funeral customs, but I'm still thinking that the mother holding the baby and treating it like it's alive through a whole 2 hour visitation isn't the usual way these go.

Posted by: Contagion at December 23, 2006 09:18 AM

Well, we lost Jennifer within a day of her birth and we did not act that way. Yet each grieves in her, and his, own way. I don't know how we would have done if she had lived for a month or so, probably not well.
When our youngest son married a woman named Jennifer some 25 years later the preacher mentioned that we'd always wanted a Jennifer in the family and it became a two hanky event. Most people at the wedding didn't understand.
That one comment, after 25 years, caused poor sleep for a month.

Posted by: Peter at December 23, 2006 06:08 PM

I skipped the funeral of a baby that died the same age as my eldest at the time. I was a reminder to the Mother that my baby was alive and hers was dead. At the funeral, I hear she stood by the cradle casket, caressing the baby and talking about it as if he were still alive.

My best friend's next door neighbor just had their 2 1/2 year old die. They had him cremated so if they move, they won't leave him behind. It broke my heart.

Who is to say what is normal? I cannot fathom the grief.

However, yes, she will need some serious counseling... and I would not be surprised if she goes temporarily insane. I know I would...and I'm not sure it would be temporary. And I can see myself doing what she did...

Posted by: Bou at December 23, 2006 11:59 PM

As a teenager, I had twin cousins. When they were 5 months old, little Drew died. My aunt had put him to bed and called my mom for about a half an hour. After they hung up, my aunt went to check on him and found him blue, cold, and not breathing. She called my mom back in an understandable panic, at which point my mom called for an ambulance. The rest is an emotional blur. I remember a tiny casket, open for the funeral, and the sight of wee Drew lying there, lifeless, still haunts me with it's sadness.

My aunt and uncle sat near their son, holding each other and their surviving children. I'm sure they had their time with him before the service, but they in no way pretended that he was still there.

I know there's a lot of pressure for folks to be *nonjudgemental*, but holding a dead child and talking and smiling to a corpse as if it were alive is *not* normal. Then again, having to bury your child isn't normal, either. People grieve in different ways. The way this poor woman did it says she needs even more psychiatric help than ever.

My thoughts and prayers go out to her.

Posted by: Wes at December 24, 2006 05:51 PM