January 17, 2008

Funeral Programs

Posted in family at 9:04 pm by jimazing

rose.jpgOne of my hobbies is documenting my family’s genealogy. I say, “documenting” and not “researching” because my joy comes from listening to and reading the family stories and organizing all the information that others already know. I get no pleasure from doing research. I also love using my talents to publish this genealogy and family history on the web so that all can enjoy it.

I started going through papers and photos that I got when my grandmother (Anderson) died in 2005. She was faithful to keep records (letters, stories, charts) of our family history. Documentation like that is of vital importance when one is recording genealogy. Sometimes you will come up with two conflicting pieces of information and without documentation, you would not know which was more likely to be true. Interestingly, Gran was practically obsessive about saving funeral programs. They are little cards that tell the barest of details. Who died, when they were born and when they died, where the services are to be held and who will officiate. She has them from her parents, her brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles… As much as I understand their value as documentation, it seems a bit odd (even morbid) to save them.

As I was sorting through things tonight, I came across Gran’s own funeral program that I had saved. I thought about how she had passed this job to me and how I was the one now filing her funeral program. It then occured to me that someday, someone else will file my funeral program.

I don’t mean to scare anyone. This is not meant to be morbid or some kind of prediction of my demise. It is a reminder that death is a very real part of life. That’s the way it is supposed to be. For me, it helps to keep the worries of life in perspective. I wonder if Gran ever thought about that…



  1. erin said,

    I wonder if she made her own program. To me that seems morbid, but I think you end up doing more “morbid” things when you get older anyways, like making a will, buying a plot, picking a coffin, etc.
    Not to be light, but I will make sure that your program isn’t in all CAPS like hers because I know you hate that. I want you to live forever, though.
    Love, Erin

  2. Dave said,

    She also wrote her own obituary…That’s my Momma!
    She didn’t trust any of us to do her justice. It may have been the longest obituary in history. If she hadn’t done that, she wouldn’t have been “my Momma”.
    Thanks Nephew/Brother for your work on ‘our’ history and ‘your’ legacy.
    Uncle Brother

  3. Dave said,

    Well, apparently I didn’t have much to say. :>)
    I was saying that she not only planned her own funeral but wrote her own obituary…That’s ‘my Momma’. One unique lady. It was perhaps the longest obituary I have ever seen.
    Thanks Nephew/Brother for your hard work on ‘our history’ and ‘your legacy’.

  4. jimazing said,

    Erin – Thanks for taking care of my program and making sure it is mixed case 🙂 I feel loved.

    Dave – As difficult as it was for me to do, I actually edited her obit before we published it. It was difficult because I felt her looking over my shoulder the whole time. She was an English teacher at one time, but I think she would have given herself a “C” at best for the writing syntax. 🙂

    I will never forget the visit with her when I was having trouble learning prepositions at school. She drilled them into me and made me memorize the list. I never forgot prepositions!

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