I wonder if the antics of the living mortify the dead.
The dead are commonly well behaved. They wait patiently for the wake to begin. They silently bear the excesses of their loved ones. They seldom disrupt the exequial Mass celebrated on their behalf. They proceed relaxed and composed (as opposed to decomposed) to the burial site. And they surrender themselves discreetly to the finality of it all as they are lowered into their ultimate resting place.
The living are another can of worms altogether.
I have seen first hand:
- friends and family snapping photos on their cell phones as the deceased lies in state
- other family members squeezing in cheek-to-cadaverous-cheek to be in the photo with the deceased
- the photo of the deceased emblazoned on T-shirts that are worn the following day at the funeral Mass
- one friend hold the hand of the deceased out of the casket to allow the other friends walk by and reverently fist bump their dead homey
- mothers, grandmothers, wives and girl friends (recognized and suddenly revealed) throw themselves on the open casket and attempt to wrest the defunct object of their affection from a prone position, as if forcing him back to the land of the living
- sons and nephews pour cans of Tecate on papi’s casket as it is being lowered into the ground
- a live pet schnauzer resting on his ex-master’s legs as the mourners file by
- abuela being covered in sea shells before her coffin is closed because she always loved the beach
- junior clothed in pinstripes, fitted with a cap, adorned with a first baseman’s glove and wrapped in a Yankees blanket as he lays motionless
- a squirrel running into a wake in progress and scampering up onto the open casket of the departed
- el tío laid to rest in a fiberglass coffin fashioned into a pink Dodge pick-up
- friends dancing cumbia around the gravesite as mami waits to be inhumed
- fainting, screaming, vomiting, thrashing, laughing, cursing, crying and clapping... all by the living
But this takes the cake:
The indignity of death is only surpassed by the insanity of the living.