This reminds me of the funerals that I used to see




This article that was first published in the Los Angeles Times begins “It was standing-room only in the cavernous Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, where the funeral Mass for Bishop David G. O’Connell was held Friday morning. And it seemed every one of the 3,000 mourners in attendance had a personal relationship with the cleric most knew as their beloved “Bishop Dave.


Nostalgia is an interesting phenomena.  With it we harken back to things that we remember with fondness.  While we can watch moves and troll the internet on airline flights today some of those from older generations yearn for the “romanticism” that was airline travel by DC-3’s in the 1950’s. . . . or a baseball fan from a different generation looks back to the days of the “gut feelings” of bunts and stolen bases instead of the data driven 3-run homer or “Money Ball” that is played today.


Yes. . . nostalgia happens with almost all people of all generations.   My Sirius radio is generally tuned to the music of the 60’s and 70’s and when certain songs come on they bring me recollection of days gone by.


And, nostalgia can happen with funerals and funeral directors too.  So often in today’s contemporary society I attend visitations and funerals that are so different from what I was used to when I was working in the 1970’s thru the 1990’s. . . before the days when cremation took such a hold on the mores of funeral service.


I view that last three decades of the 20th Century as one in which funeral service was a full service complement that included family arrangements, well attended visitations and funeral services, followed by a cemetery interment service and a reception.  On the business side of death care was full services, casket sales, vault sales, and paper goods such as memorial folders and thank you cards all supplied by the funeral director to the family. . . . .I’m not saying it was better than today, but it was different than today.


The article linked to this blog post is entitled, “Gripped by Grace” and describes the life and the funeral of Bishop David G. O’Connell.  It not only describes a wonderful person who was shot to death in his home in February, but describes his community coming together to mourn and celebrate his life.  The funeral is described and brings back nostalgia to me as it appears to be very similar to the funerals I conducted those last decades of the 20th Century. . . .


. . . “As the two-hour funeral came to an end, Archbishop Gomez echoed those thoughts before sprinkling O’Connell’s cloth-covered casket with holy water and encasing it in incense smoke.

‘As we honor him, and thank him, and follow his joyful example, his beautiful example of being close to Jesus,’ Gómez said. ‘His example should be the way that we live’.”


Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

Funeral Director Daily take:  Those older readers of Funeral Director Daily may feel the “tug of nostalgia” as I do when you read this article.  It’s how the Roman Catholic funerals were when I was an active funeral director.  The reverence of the church, the priest, and the human remains were always of utmost significance and appearance to this Lutheran funeral director.


I try to see that as I attend services today but it isn’t always quite as apparent to me anymore.


However, I am well aware that I am deep-seated in nostalgia with this view.  Death care of today still has its meaning to those it is serving and as America moves forward we have to understand that we will have new traditions and new social mores that will be ever so nostalgic in the future to those serving families today.


Change is a part of moving forward as a society. . . . and it always will be.


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  1. Jon Haaven on March 21, 2023 at 7:30 am

    Enjoyed the column, Tom

  2. Jon Haaven on March 21, 2023 at 7:27 am

    Great column, Tom

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