A Funeral Story

While this story isn’t chalk full of the paranormal it’s still about a funeral so I thought what better time to share this story than during October. The funeral was my great-grandmothers and my family still talks about it to this day, primarily because it was the weirdest funeral we’d ever been a part of.

A quick back story on my great-grandmother: she was super hip for her age. Every two years for nearly two decades she would trade her car in for a new one. Side note: she was 96 when she passed and, I love my great-grandmother, god rest her soul, but I have no idea why this was even allowed. I’m not sure how long they were together but at the time of her passing she was living with a man named Jose who was a complete asshole. A little over a year before she passed my grandmother found out that Jose was verbally and mentally abusing my great-grandmother; if there was any physical abuse we still don’t know but the fact that he was being a dick was all my grandmother needed to hear. She told my dad what was going on and they made a special road trip to set Jose straight. My dad is retired law enforcement and is also an Army vet, but it was my 4’10” Native American grandmother who brought Jose to tears. She. Don’t. Play. After the confrontation my dad took everyone to lunch (everyone except Jose because fuck him), and when he noticed my great-grandmother struggling a little to walk he asked her why she wasn’t using her walker. Her response was “it makes me look old.”

Her passing was tough enough, then we found out that Jose wasn’t going to pay for her funeral and was basically going to let the city bury her. My dad told my grandmother not to worry as he would pay to have her cremated, but right before he finalized everything Jose got his head out of his ass and decided to pay for her funeral. Well, let me tell you, you know the saying “you get what you pay for”? Yeah, that applies to EVERYTHING.

First, the funeral home he picked was tiny, rundown, and in a scary part of town. On top of that Marty McSmarty the iPhone hadn’t been invented yet so I had to MapQuest the directions – which means that I basically had to guess my way there. When I arrived my grandmother, dad, and aunts and uncles were already there, but other than Jose and a friend of his nobody else was there. He didn’t include an obituary for her so her friends didn’t even know she’d passed. We. Were. Pissed.

Wait. It gets better. About an hour after I arrived Jose got up, walked over to my grandmother and started telling her that he was missing a watch and he thought one of my uncle’s had taken it. I swear to god I thought my grandma was going to palm his head and smash it through one of the chapel windows, a sight I’m sure no one would’ve batted an eyelash at because, and I’m just being honest, we were in the ghetto. My Aunt D politely told Jose that if he didn’t go sit down she was going to throw him in the grave with my great-grandma. Now, I’ve been a part of funerals where people offered us their condolences and then tried to steal our thunder by telling us about their family members passing, but the threat of physical violence was a new one.

Anyway, you know what this jerk did after my aunt was nice to him? He found the funeral director and told him he didn’t want us there and that we needed to leave. The funeral director made the mistake of reciting Jose’s request to my aunt D and well, you can imagine how that went. We didn’t move. Then, during one of Jose’s frequent breaks from the viewing my Uncle A asked the funeral director if he could close the casket and load up my great-grandma so we could all be gone by the time Jose got back. The funeral director just stared at all of us and then walked away without saying a word. I know what you’re thinking: it can only go up from here. The answer to that is no, it did not.

It was time for the procession except SYKE! Jose didn’t pay for that so, no joke, the funeral director walked up to us and said that because that was not part of the funeral package we couldn’t follow the hearse but he would give us directions to the cemetery. I didn’t even know they could tell you that. Naturally we didn’t listen. Unfortunately what was supposed to at least look like a funeral procession ended up looking like a high-speed chase because damn if that guy didn’t try to lose us. And either he was lost or was still trying to lose us because when we finally made it to the cemetery we drove around for about 30-minutes before we made it (i.e. located) the grave site. My cousin (who I was living with at the time) and I had been in contact throughout the entire ordeal and prior to me leaving the funeral home she sent me a text saying she would be able to make it to the burial, which was great because she was working as a paramedic at the time and wasn’t sure she’d be able to leave during her shift. Once we made it to the cemetery I gave her the best directions I could but she was pretty much on her own.

The service began and by the tail-end of it I was thinking there was no way my cousin would make it, because I’m sure my directions couldn’t have been shittier. Right when they started lowering the casket into the ground, I saw it, in my peripheral vision. Oh nah uh. Off in the not-so-far distance was an ambulance heading straight for us. People visiting their deceased loved ones stopped to stare at us while we stopped to stare at the ambulance. Nothing to see here people, that ambulance is with us! If I had to take guess at what they were thinking, I think it would be “oh my god they’re burying the wrong person and the ambulance is delivering the right one.” At least that’s what their faces looked like. Even the grave diggers looked at us like we were bat-shit crazy, which I thought was a pretty uppity expression to get from people who work for a cemetery that contains a children’s burial section called “Baby Land”.

My cousin got out of the ambulance and my family and I had a nice laugh, even my grandma got a kick out of the whole thing. It was a refreshing, much needed light-hearted moment considering what the rest of the day had been like. The funeral director did not enjoy this as much as we did as his reaction was to once again stare at us and then leave, which was a real pisser because none of us knew how to get out of there. I guess in retrospect, the funeral director had the last laugh. Well played Mr. Funeral Director, well played.

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