Along the Natchez Trace

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Life Ends.... and Yet Goes On.....

No photos today, and you'll soon see why....

As usual, I headed into Coco this morning for 10:00 mass at the catholic church that's across from the soccer field.  I think it's The Church of the Virgin Mary, but I'm not sure of this....  I just kind of peeked over at the bulletin the person next to me was holding.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself....

Bill always walks into town with me...  he goes to the park, or goes to the grocery...  or just wanders around while I'm at mass.  As we're walking up to the church, we notice that a hearse is backed into the church entrance gate.  Hmmmm....  interesting....  something different.....

I'm always early....  sometimes the choir practices before services and I like to hear that.  Now...  keep in mind here that my Spanish is VERY limited.  Sure, I have a missal that has the English on one side and Spanish on the other side, so I can pretty much follow the readings.  As for the rest of the service, anyone who's gone to church in the past 60+ years already knows the Latin mass...  and knows the English...  so no matter what language it's being said in, it's not hard to follow along.  

Of course the sermon is something else....  and I'll admit right now I seldom know what's being said.

All that aside...  here I am, seated, as usual in the very last row....  and looking up the aisle towards the altar is a casket....  Right in the aisle....  on one of those scissor-like contraptions that I suppose collapse to fit in the hearse.  The casket is closed and here is a large bouquet of flowers on top....  

I try to look into the first rows...  is there a family all dressed in black?  Not that I can see.  Is anyone weeping and sobbing?  Not that I can see.

The mass starts...  same as always.  If there is any mention of the deceased, I've totally missed it.  The mass continues...  on through the readings...  and the gospel...  and the liturgy.  Now, I'm thinking here there'll be a eulogy or something....  not that I can tell.  

I'm beginning to wonder if there really is a body in that casket.  It doesn't look really big....  I might fit in it, but I don't think Bill would...  I quickly shake my head of these dumb thoughts....

Mass continues...  and ends.  Now it's time for the final blessing...

And, I guess it really is time for the FINAL blessing.  The altar boy brings the thing (looks like an ice cream scoop if you're not familiar with it) of holy water to the priest and he walks around the casket, giving the deceased a blessing.  Then the altar boy brings the scepter of incense...  and the priest walks around with more prayers.  

Now we all get the blessing at the end of mass and are "dismissed".....  I'm at the back of the church so am one of the first to leave.  It feels kind of odd to just walk out....  you know... leaving that casket up there...  shouldn't there be pallbearers carrying it to the hearse?  I did kind of pick up the priest's words...  either the interment will be after the 4pm evening mass...  or maybe it will be manana......  I'm not sure.

I meet Bill outside and we hang out a few minutes waiting to talk to Ann, who also attends this church.  We see the hearse parked at the entrance... several people are carrying flowers.  Ann tells us that the person she sat beside told her the deceased was an 83 year old man who had been ill for a while.  And, by the way, 83 is sounding younger and younger to me every year.

This has been a new experience for me....  and I can only say a prayer that the man will rest in peace and go with God.  I hope he had a happy life full of joy and love.

That's All For Today!


  1. What an interesting experience! The older I get, the younger 83 sounds!

  2. Yes 83 gets younger every year, how can that happen?

  3. I'm right there with ya.....As a youngster, I used to think 30 sounded "really" old - the closer I got to 30, the younger it seemed - then, 40, then 50, then 60.....None of it really seems as old as it once did. Now, I'm 66, and my Mom passed away at 72. I'm thinking that was pretty young to leave this world.

  4. A rather somber beginning to your day.

  5. I have been to funerals in several countries and they were different but had the same feeling to them. I grew up catholic and the last row was always my favorite:)

  6. Very interesting service. Amazing how customs are so very different in other countries.

  7. Funeral customs can vary between countries and denominations. Interesting to read about the one you experienced.

  8. That's certainly something that will last in your book of memories. I was worried for a minute when you said the casket was small - glad my fears were unfounded. Interesting experience.

  9. Struck down in his prime, illness notwithstanding.