Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What Do You Say as You Kneel Before the Deceased's Coffin?

I was not raised in an overly religious household. While I believe in God, I don't follow the Church. Sometimes this lack of understanding the rituals, leaves me at a loss knowing what to do in certain situations. For instance at a wake, watching others as they kneel before a casket, they bless themselves and appear to recite some memorized prayer -- I don't do that.

For me what feels right is to speak from my heart. Yesterday as I knelt before my work colleague's deceased body, I clasped my hands in commune and just spoke to him:

Hey Buddy -- Just wanted to let you know that I really appreciated you, enjoyed your company. You always made things fun. You were a stand up guy. You'll be missed. Take care my friend.

It was not profound. It certainly wasn't something sanctioned by the Church but for me it felt right. Simple.

What do you say?


Jabacue said...

I know exactly what you are saying. The whole 'ritual' we have is quite bizarre when you think of it. There you are face to face with the body of a friend, or family member. You are filled with emotions and awareness of your own mortality while still trying to be as composed as possible. Your 'prayer' was nice and appropriate....it's a difficult situation to be in.

Vương Tử Trực said...

That's really spoken from your heart and that's just good enough.

A Lewis said...

Whatever works for you. Whatever puts you at peace and rest and is comfortable. Those are difficult times in life.

Anonymous said...


What you said to your friend was far greater than anything a prayer could've offered.

Actually, what you said WAS your prayer.

I was raised Baptist and hubby was raised Catholic. I no longer attend church, but I do attend Mass a few times a year with hubby, and I'm always at a loss when they start their chanting and prayers. It all just seems so routine and kind of like they aren't really thinking about what they are saying, more so than just what has been drummed into their brain from childhood.


Lemuel said...

I will argue your point that your prayer was not profound. It was. Prayers are not magic incantations or formulas, they are the words of a sincere heart spoken in truth.
You honor[ed] your co-worker - and whatever higher power you conceive - by what you did.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting that question. I am atheist and often wondered what others thought or said at that time. Your statement to your friend was completely from your heart.

Michael Rivers said...

From the heart is the most meaningful way to go. That's what counts.

Ur-spo said...

that was good enough.

Peter said...

What you said was from the heart, he'll be missed both at work as at his home.
In the months to come you still be refering to him, even when he's notb there anymore. You'll know what his answer will be on the questions you have.

You did well, Rick!

Will said...

Things that are sanctioned by our churches are very much open for reexamination these days. What you did was personal and meaningful to the relationship you had with your work friend in a way that a mumbled formulaic prayer could never be. You spoke from your heart.