Oh if I could have just been a friend and not a family member!!! This was the strangest viewing/funeral I have ever been to. Even stranger than the NASCAR eulogy at dh’s uncles funeral.
To start with, the obituary… was different in different papers. The local paper obituary was written by the deceased’s girlfriend. It made no mention of the deceased’s wife (who died a couple years ago) and was worded a little funny… like… Dave used to attend St Johns, used to work at XXXXX, used to … to reference his life with his wife (dh’s sister). Then in other papers it either totally left his relatives out or mentioned his wife but not his girlfriend.
So we went to the viewing… just as we walked in, dh’s niece was in hysterics and yelling about it being her uncle and how she wasn’t welcome. I guess this all stemmed from some sort of fight with the girlfriends sister… who was just horrible and threatened to have her removed from the viewing by the police.
Apparently there were a whole lot of hard feelings going on because the girlfriend and her family made all arrangements and left out the deceased’s immediate family and my dh’s family. When the niece called her uncles mom and asked if she could put a pin on him at the viewing, there was a misunderstanding of some sort and it ended with the girlfriends sister threatening to beat her a**. How all this came about, I have no clue, but it just kept escalating.
So anyway, back to the viewing. There were 3 distinct camps… girlfriends family, deceased’s family, and wife’s family. The bad thing is that they are pretty much intertwined… kind of redneck style… girlfriends sister is married to wifes family cousin…etc… So, my dh tried to talk to his cousin… and his wife came over and pulled him away. I wanted to go over to girlfriend and give my condolences, she had always been nice to me, but if I did dh’s niece would have gone off… Poor deceased’s family was caught in the middle and since they were from out of town… nobody knew what to say to whom. The man who was the girlfriends pastor was selected to do the service even though Dave (deceased) and his family, and dh’s family was Lutheran. My SIL’s pastor came with them from out of town to help the families (this was the nicest thing I had ever seen) even though it was a 4-5 hour trip… he also talked to the methodist minister about the service, and offered assistance to anyone who needed it… then he drove SIL’s children back home (4-5 hour trip) so he wasn’t there for the funeral.
So the viewing was drama, drama, drama… the funeral was at the funeral home instead of a church (only church in town is a Lutheran church), but I knew there was going to be a huge problem… he had so many friends and family…too many for a funeral here. But they did. All the fire dept, EMT’s were there because he was a volunteer… then there were tons of people from his last employer there… and of course lots of family. I have never gone to a funeral that wasn’t at a church… so this was all new to me. Anyway, I was rather upset that due to the small size of this place, our family was not able to sit together… kids were sitting in one area, husband was behind them and I was in front of them. I was seated next to dh’s nieces mom (divorced from BIL many yrs ago). I had met her at the viewing… you could tell she was annoyed that I was seated there because she was “saving” the seat for her daughter…who didn’t show up after all the fuss at the viewing.