First I want to thank all who have answered my questions over the year. You have been so helpful and kind and I will be forever grateful.

Father passed away this week at 96 years old. We are having the funeral out of state. Few family and friends will attend the small graveside service we will be holding. It will just be me and my daughter there. My mother is too ill to attend and other family members are too frail. The younger members in the family I think didn't know him well so they don't have the inclination to come.

I would like to make the brief service memorable and am looking for some thoughts on what my daughter and I can do. Father was a hardworking and quiet man who would want something low key and dignified.

Mother seems to want a big funeral like those she remembers for other family members who died years ago. Hundreds of people came to those funerals. But most of father's friends have passed on or are too ill to come. The younger members of the family won't come if it is inconvenient for them. My husband is not coming either. He and my father did not get along well. My husband doesn't understand that his attendance is really a support for me during this time. My friends have been very comforting and have said that I should not hesitate to ask for help if I need it. I got no such offer from my husband. But I don't expect much from him because he is very narcissistic.

I, with the help of my daughter, have been doing all the planning and working with a very helpful funeral home.

We are going to dispense with the viewing because it is not necessary if it is just going to be us there. So we settled for a graveside service but we would like to make it more memorable and not simply a priest reading a prayer and that's it. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

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I am retired from the death care industry and will be the first to say a direct cremation with a simple gathering of friends, family after would not be expensive... A big funeral is a ridiculous expenditure that only serves guilt and sorrow... and after... for one thing, cremation is environmentally friendly and clean. Ground burial will be obsolete in the future. Sorry to be so direct.
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Reply to janerides
demstress Dec 8, 2018
Thank you. My mother bought the cemetery plot many years ago. It fits two people: my father since he passed first is on bottom and when my mother passes she will be on top. It is a family plot so my aunts and uncles and my grandmother are on either side of my parents' plot. When it is my turn perhaps my daughter can make a nice piece of jewelry out of me.
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I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, demstress. When my father passed, also at age 96, we just had a small graveside ceremony too. My brother, husband, Mom and I first met with the rabbi & told her all about Dad, & from that she crafted a perfect eulogy about him so it wasn't just a religious service. Also, for many years Dad had a ritual of creating a new short poem or alliteration every morning for my Mom, so that's what I did for him and read it aloud to him at his funeral. Mom, whose ability to speak had been taken away by a recent severe stroke, liked it & it made me feel very close to him. Also he was a proud veteran & very patriotic so we had a flag draped over his coffin which was given to us after the funeral.

Perhaps you and your daughter could both prepare some reminiscences about your dad and read them to him. Was he a vet or did he have special interests? If so perhaps the funeral home could have a flag draped over his coffin, or you & your daughter could bring a few items that were meaningful to him and briefly talk about them and their significance. I do hope your husband or some friends would come to support you, but if not this could be a completely intimate ceremony where you & your daughter can share your thoughts, memories & feelings about your father.

My heart goes out to you & your family right now.
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Reply to karenjoy

I’m so sorry for your loss. When my mom passed two years ago, two days before Thanksgiving, I was in the midst of planning that get together. I couldn’t devote myself to mourning for her, and as you said, because of her age, all her friends were gone. She wanted no funeral or memorial, I waited until Spring and had my own private memorial just for me. I invited no friends or anyone else. “Memorable” was in my own mind and heart. My “memorable” was things she had done for me in the past and how she sacrificed having things for herself just so I didn’t go without. I think I accomplished that.

I’m sending you comfort and peace and a few cyber hugs as well.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
katiekat2009 Dec 13, 2018
I am shocked at this! Your mom died two days before Thanksgiving and you couldn't be bothered to mourn her because you were planning your own shindig?! Thanksgiving would have been cancelled. How cold.
My condolences on your great loss, demstress.

The most powerful grave-side service had the fewest people. My mom, my two sisters, and I re-buried my brother (he drowned when he was 6 about 58 years ago in Texas.) He had been buried in Texas where we lived, then we all soon moved to another state right after. It tormented Mom all those years that he was all alone. I arranged to have him exhumed.

We buried him the day after Christmas in an old country cemetery at the foot of where Mom would eventually rest. (We waited until after our Christmas celebration so he could be with us.) The sexton had already dug a small but deep hole.

My sister and I lowered his tiny casket down with ropes. We stood there and just kept our thoughts to ourselves. We puttered putting up flowers and gently moving bits and leaves around his grave. The family togetherness was powerful. I felt this was the purest of a human ritual I'd ever experienced.

This can be a most powerful service for your father and for you and your daughter. A simple service from you to your father can be quite moving. Perhaps write a few words--from you to your father--and a few words from your daughter--can be so meaningful for you both. Perhaps each of you leave behind a flower or a favorite item of your father's with your thoughts and feelings for your father embodied in that item.

I have no doubt your father will be watching.
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Reply to MountainMoose
Riverdale Dec 8, 2018
That breaks my heart but I hope you all have some peace.
Maybe something similar to this would work.

When his wife died (she was cremated) my son gathered small keepsakes, photos, and such that were special to her, or to him in his memories of her, put them in a small box, and buried the box along with the urn holding her ashes.
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Reply to realtime

you could do a simple grave site service and then hold a memorial service in your church later. Or even have a Mass said for him, if your faith allows it.
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Reply to RitaDenise

Each find a poem that you could read to each other. There's one I liked called, as I recall, An Ordinary Man. Is there recorded music you could play on your phone that has some meaning to you? Hold hands. Plan a short sequence of events so you have a beginning, middle, and an end. Like music, your thought, words, poems, actions (like placing flowers), and final music.
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Reply to vegaslady

Your father’s graveside service will be memorable for you and your daughter, however it happens. The best thing to do is to make the memory as pleasant as possible, not just very short and business like. There are lots of good ideas here – play some music he liked? Recite a poem or verses from the Bible or a hymn. Sing ‘The Lord’s my shepherd’, or a song from your childhoods. Drop things he liked into the grave? A quarter of an hour may be long enough. Then both of you go out to lunch somewhere nice and talk about all your best memories of him. Forget about the people who aren’t there, and just try to make the whole thing into a happy memory for you both.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen

I’m sorry for your loss. The quiet graveside service sounds peaceful and comforting to me. Others may not get it, but there are some of us who’d prefer it to the big scene with people who really don’t have it in their hearts to attend. Share your favorite memories of your dad, either yourself or have the minister do it, these are the things that will bring you comfort as you go forward
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Reply to Daughterof1930

When my husband died this past fall, he was immediately cremated. We had a catholic mass the following week, along with a graveside service at the cemetery. It was only our children, my parents, and our siblings in attendance. The priest did a nice job with both the mass and the graveside service. All very simple, but dignified and meaningful for us.
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Reply to Tboosrn

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