Thursday, September 2, 2021

Old Customs Die Hard - Oops Sorry

I'm referring to an ancient custom of loved ones sitting up with the deceased all of the night before the funeral.  

Tuesday Richie's brother Charlie called to tell us that a fellow clammer,  Bay Man  and good friend of theirs had died.   For reference his name is Sonny Nogiewich.  Charlie didn't know what got him, but from info gleaned at the visitation today, it was cancer.  Type not specified but we are hoping for more information after the funeral today.  

Richie asked Charlie who would be sitting up with him.  I was puzzled.  Richie guessed "Cookie" (ex-wife)  or their daughter Debby.  

They finished their conversation and I asked Richie,  "Do they still do that?  "Sit up with the body all night?" and he replied, "Sure" and in turn looked quizzically at me like, "Where have you been?"  I bet the daughter.   

Some Up All Night History.  

Some religions believe that post mortem, the soul wanders around  being attacked or attacking other souls and apparently having a human there is a good idea.  Go figure. 

Embalming didn't begin until the Civil War.  And it was a job done in the deceased's home.  Up  until the early 1900s when funeral homes appeared.  Previously a neighborhood lady or a man  would take charge of washing the body and dressing it in Sunday Best.  It was a profession among many of them  I imagine  it to have been akin to "Get the midwife!"

Visitation garb for mourners was expected to be Sunday Best, too, but with people being so time-stressed, it is perfectly okay today to pop in to the visitation straight from work.  

Today the all-night visitation is held in the funeral home; not the person's home unless it was cremated and then you could take the ashes anywhere you wanted.  For example, I told Richie, "If you go first I'm taking your ashes to the  Pitcher House, Upper Deck for your last Stella Artois.  He laughed - kind of coldly.

Stay tuned for who was Up All Night.  Which cancer it was and other details as their petals slowly open

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