Yesterday, I came across a Reddit thread that discussed how Republican presidential candidtate Rick Santorum and his family dealt with the death of their twenty week old son, back in 1996. Now, don't go thinking I'm a supporter of Rick Santorum (I'm not), but the thread got me thinking about the grieving process.
Here's a quote from the thread… (edited for profanity)
"Its f@#$% disgusting. The thing was only ~20 weeks along, it doesn't even look human at that point, just disgusting. To then introduce your living kids, that are under 10 years old, to a corpse, shows a distinct lack of good judgement. The guy is f@#$% crazy, you cannot defend the dead baby sleepover."
"But who the f@#$% takes a dead body home for their kids to play with? They f@#$% slept with it and then took a day old dead body home and they their kids cuddles it and talked to it. Who does that?"
[Warning: Sarcasm just ahead]
I know, right? It's about as crazy as stuffing your dead pet and letting it set next to your office desk or chair…and petting it or talking to it. Or how about embalming a dead body? The person is dead so what's the point? We pay someone to insert unnatural chemicals into a dead body in order to preserve it so we can put it in a coffin a day or two later. And for what – so we can look at the person one last time or pay our respects? But that's not weird at all, right?
Here's something else that's not weird or unusual. It was once a common practice to take family portraits at funerals. Yep, the deceased would actually be made a prop and literally propped up into a sitting position or posed, to be in the picture. Children, in particular, would often be photographed - sometimes with their eyes opened - surrounded by toys, dolls, brothers and/or sisters. I've also read (or heard – can't remember which) that for practical purposes, back then, funerals were one of the few times an entire family would get together so they took advantage of it by taking a family portrait.
These [postmortem] photographs were a common aspect of American culture, a part of the mourning and memorialization process. Surviving families were proud of these images and hung them in their homes, sent copies to friends and relatives, wore them as lockets, or carried them as pocket mirrors. [source]
The whole burial process and the mourning of a lost loved one is for our benefit, not theirs. They're dead. You're not, but you have to find a way to deal with the loss. I don't understand what the big deal is. Why is your way right and theirs wrong?
Did you know…
When a person dies in the Philippines, Christian Filipinos – such as Catholics that include the Tagalog people – generally hold a wake known as lamay or paglalamay, a vigil that typically lasts for five to seven nights, but may last longer if the surviving family is waiting for someone who will be traveling from afar. During this time, the cleaned and embalmed body of the dead, placed in a coffin, is displayed at the house of deceased or at a funeral home. [source]
Why does my body have to be buried in a coffin anyway? Why prolong the inevitable? My body will decompose sooner or later. Just burn my body and throw my ashes in the trash. Thanks. Well, wait a minute. Just in case there is something I've missed somewhere, and not to discount the possibility of some kind afterlife, spread my ashes over someplace nice and peaceful, will ya? Yeah, that'll be better.
People grieve in so many different ways. Who are we to judge how a person grieves the death of a loved one? As far as I know, the Santorum family didn't do anything illegal. I'm sure their other children knew their mother was pregnant, that there was supposed to be an addition to the family. When that didn't happen, they felt a loss too even as young as they were. As a family, they mourned together. I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
[Header image via Paukrus]