When I grew up in Waseca in the 1970s and ’80s, I don’t think I ever went to a “memorial service.” There was a wake at the funeral home, and then a funeral at the church. The only variation was that sometimes the casket was closed at the wake.
I was unfamiliar with the concept of memorial services until well into my adulthood. I still have been to very few, and I think almost all of them have been in a church. These memorial services generally have been held because the deceased was cremated, so there’s no body to view. Or else the person wasn’t particularly religious, so a funeral church service didn’t make sense.
It’s customary around here after the funeral to go to a relative’s home and continue to chat, eat, and (sometimes) drink. I guess that could be considered a quasi-memorial service.
But I hear of people who attend memorial services at bars, parks, or restaurants. That got me wondering, where is the most unusual place you’ve been for a memorial service?
Mark J. Kenney said:
So many different places. Camp grounds, lakes, mountains, ski lifts, golf courses, streams, back yards, etc. The more personal the better.
That’s great! I think there’s more of an effort to be more personalized these days.
Tracy Lee Karner said:
Like you, growing up in your “neck of the woods” I experienced the same — wake, funeral (usually at church), and graveside service.
I have never even been to the funeral of someone who was cremated. And I’ve been to a LOT of funerals. (Large, traditional family).
I can think of one service I went to that was more of a memorial service because the deceased was cremated. That is still the exception to the rule around here.
Jann Veroeven said:
My Mom wrote down all her wishes and shared them with us. She wanted to be cremated and wanted my family to take her on a canoe ride down the river that ran behind one of the farms we lived on. She wanted some ashes sprinkled there and some sprinkled where her Dad had died – down by the Minnesota River. She asked that my brother sing “The Green Green Grass of Home” (he was just starting to play around with the guitar when she died). Then she wanted us to have a big beer party. We carried out all of her wishes with one exception. She didn’t want a service, but my Dad thought we should for friends, family and her daycare families because she died suddenly. We had a memorial service for her at Woodland Hills. Some of the older relatives didn’t think the beer party was appropriate, but they all showed up! haha
This just shows how important it is to express your wishes and write everything down!
Minnesota Prairie Roots said:
At my 19-year-old nephew’s funeral, we dined on pizza, from his favorite pizza place, and ice cream in the basement of the Catholic Church. That is what Justin, who was dying of cancer, requested. The two pizza places in Morris actually worked together, one allowing the other to use its pizza ovens so the mega crowd could be fed. Afterward we returned to his parents’ home and had a few beers.
Oh, and my sister-in-law (Justin’s mother) wore pink because he did not want her wearing black. Of all the funerals I’ve attended, this is the one I remember for the pizza and the pink.
I’ve never been to a memorial service, always a wake/visitation and/or a funeral.
This sounds lovely, especially the idea of wearing pink instead of black. Justin sounds like a wonderful person who knew exactly what he wanted.