June 30th, 2014
Posted By:

When my husband died, (No matter how much times goes by, I still feel strange typing those awful words), our family felt comfortable choosing a traditional way of saying good-bye to him and paying our final respects: he was laid to rest in a beautiful coffin and we held a lively wake and Catholic Mass so that everyone could gather and share their precious memories of his short time with us.


At that blurry point, our son and I were in the most vulnerable condition of our lives and so was everyone else who loved and adored him.  He was with us one day and then gone the next.  That is the stark truth that we were slapped with.  In our shock, we all were transported to a place we had never been before, a place of deep grief, where nothing made sense, yet we were expected to plan a memorial service, wake, and funeral in a very short amount of time for a person we deeply loved.

To this day, my husband’s eulogy, beautifully and eloquently written and delivered by one of my husband’s sons, is etched in my memory.  I don’t know where he found the strength to stand and say the words which reflected his love and understanding of his father’s unique life but somewhere inside of himself he did.  If there can be a high point of a funeral, then this moment stands forever as one with a halo around it!

Amidst the sweet good-byes is a gesture I didn’t know about at the time, but it is one that reflects a man’s unspoken tie to my husband.  As I have written before, my husband loved the NY Giants and the NY Yankees.  My brothers and my brothers-in-law are die hard Washington Redskins fans.  I know you get the sports message here of the trash talk between the two sides regarding the wins of losses of both teams.

Many weeks after the funeral, one of my brothers-in-law took me aside and told me that during the wake he had put a NY Giants baseball cap into my husband’s coffin.  I thought that gesture spoke volumes about their friendship.  Many people have told me stories about sentimental and personal items they have placed in their loved ones coffins and I have read stories of about this too and find the idea comforting.

I write of the need for each person to find a way to say good-bye to their deceased loved one to put in context the story recently published on the front page of the New York Times about the recent trend of people requesting funeral directors to pose their loved ones sitting up doing something that would have mimicked a scene from their life.

Grief can take us to some very unexpected places and I must say I’m not sure what to make of this one.  Here is a link to the New York Times story and I would be interested in your thoughts:




Share this post:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

4 Responses to “Final Resting”

  1. Margaret Moreland Mazcko

    Beautiful Mary. I too found comfort in the traditional Catholic Mass and funeral when my parents died. I did see the article in the post and thought the same – to me it looked disrespectful but for the loved ones it might have been the right thing to do. The grief process is so very important that whatever is the most comforting for those loved ones left behind is right. I see you have a picture of Blessed Sacrament, our close family friend Monsignor Tom Duffy was pastor there for years, such an incredible man.

    • Mary Kate Cranston

      Blessed Sacrament is our parish and coincidentally Monsignor Duffy said the funeral Mass for my husband. I agree with you he is an incredible man because he is so wise and generous with his caring spirit. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate your thoughts. Hope all is well with you and your family!!

  2. Margaret Moreland Mazcko

    So impressed by your website. I am sure reading your words will be a wonderful comfort for so many at a time in their lives when they feel overwhelmed and helpless. I have been a nurse for most of my life and have always held a special place in my heart for the terminally ill and their families. It is such a frightening and unpredictable path when journeying through end of life issues. On a happier note, I have known Fr. Duffy since I was a child, he actually was one of the priests at our graduation Mass from Holy Cross. He has married and baptized everyone in our extended family, including myself and Ronnie 39 years ago. We recently spent 10 days with Fr.Duffy in Ireland – great time listening to all his “Irish” stories and memories. We have a grown son and daughter and 4 precious grandchildren. We are so lucky to get to spend so much time with them.So fun to catch up with old high school classmates on Facebook.

    • Mary Kate Cranston

      10 days in Ireland with Fr. Duffy! What a fantastic trip you must have had! I am happy for you and your husband and your wonderful family. To have four grandchildren is quite a gift. Good for you Maggie!! Thanks so much for reading and offering your support. We are all in this together and I am happy to try and helps others, so please feel free to pass Cry Laugh Heal along to anyone you know who may be dealing with end of life issues. Take care!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You might also like: