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Why would anyone do such a thing?

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serenity blaze
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0 posted 12-19-2001 10:33 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I'll fill you in, here. Some you may know that in late July, My fiance and I both lost our fathers within two weeks of each other. Needless to say, it was a blinding blow, and we are struggling to put on a brave face for our children through this holiday season. Yesterday we received a Christmas Card in the mail. Enclosed were pictures from his father's wake, including several of his dad in the casket. The person who sent them was indeed a family member who flew in for the services. I vaguely recall her asking permission to take pictures then, her reasoning being, that she seldom sees the family and friends all together. I told her that I thought it would be okay, as long as she was discreet. It was my understanding that she would take photos of family. The pictures of "Dad" came as quite a shock. I'm just relieved that we got the mail before the kids did, as we allow them to open cards addressed to the family. I'm trying hard to understand why anyone would want such a thing for themselves, much less "share" them with someone still obviously devastated by grief. She is normally a kind soul, so I'm confused as to what to say to her. I probably won't even mention it, but I'm still confused. Is this some sort of new custom that I'm unaware of? I found it insensitive and distasteful, and we are still smarting from that and everytime we even see the envelope with the pics in it, it's like a punch in the stomach. What, if anything, do I say to her? And there is the question of what to do with the boyfriend can't look at them but still can't bring himself to throw them away...

doreen peri
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1 posted 12-19-2001 11:06 AM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

ohhhh karen.... this made me upset. I can't imagine anyone doing that! if this is a new custom, i've certainly never heard of it. when my Dad died, it took me a long time to even be able to enjoy photos of him when he was healthy and strong! it was as if he was looking at me and every time I'd see a photo, i'd start to cry, missing him so much. Those feelings changed through time and now I very much enjoy old photo albums.

This, though... what you have described... I totally agree it is distasteful and upsetting. If it were me, I wouldn't want to keep the photos at all. I would either throw them away or send them back to the person with a short note, explaining that i would rather remember my father alive and healthy.

i have no idea why anyone would want photos like that.....

(((hugs))) and love to you, karen!
Janet Marie
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2 posted 12-19-2001 01:50 PM       View Profile for Janet Marie   Email Janet Marie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Janet Marie

Actually, from what I know that is an "old  custom." Im not sure how far back it goes, and I also think it might depend on what part of the country/world one is from and religious backgrounds. But years ago(maybe still?) funeral homes offered to have professional photographers take these kind of pictures and the families could order them. It's my understanding it was somewhat common in the early 1900's and continued to be through 60s and 70's? Especially if it was a childs funeral, or a military. I have been to friends houses who have these shots of grandparents ,great grandparents ect. and some of ones lost in Viet Nam.
When my youngest sister died in the early 60s of Systic Fibrosis at 3 yrs set of grandparents asked for the pics to be taken and it caused a bit of a huff with the other side of the family who found it maudlin. I was only 5 at the time so I dont recall much, but to this day its a bit unnerving to see those pics but they seem to mean a great deal to my dad, so I guess its just a matter of personal taste.
If they really bother you two...throw them away, I'm sure she meant no harm...its probably a custom she grew up with...and didnt stop to think others may not be comfortable with it like she was. And Christmas cards arent the place to should be given warning I think too.
If you think some day your BF will be able to handle them, ask someone to keep them or put them in a safe place where the kids wont find them.
Heart-hugs me twin.
love you.

[This message has been edited by Janet Marie (12-19-2001 04:49 PM).]

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3 posted 12-19-2001 03:51 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

JM is right.  This is an old custom.  This even included artists to come in and sketch the deceased.  

Several years ago I attended an aunt's funeral.  I became re-acquainted with several of my aunts, uncles and cousins who I had not seen in several years.  The aunt who had passed away had a HUGE family.  Her family alone comprised over 200 funeral members.  The whole thing turned, as she would have had it, into a celebration of life and renewal.  Several photos of family members were taken, and are being enjoyed today.  Life brought death brought life.

However, not one photo was taken of the casket.  In respect.  

I would suggest you return the photos with a brief and kind note that this upset your boyfriend [or he could send it] and that you/he are/was sure it was done with the kindest intentions, but at this time, receipt of them was just "too much", and that his grieving period is not over.  

And then we can all hope she understands.
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4 posted 12-19-2001 05:17 PM       View Profile for Mysteria   Email Mysteria   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mysteria

Well JM and Sunshine are totally right, and I am custodian of my grandparents sketched pictures drawn as each was at the funeral home I guess. I have never even looked at them as they are wrapped.  It was indeed our custom in our family (I am 1/2 Irish, and 1/2 Scottish), and my grandparents actually displayed these in what they called their "sitting room" when I was a child (the family members).  BUT - in this day and age, as with anything so personal one should ask and be clear in their intent.

Karen I am so sorry you and your family have been hurt by this, and I know you have deeply.  My advise would be to let it go, the more the pot is tended the longer it will boil so to speak.  You mentioned that she is normally a kind soul, and perhaps it was her way of "connecting" to you at this time of year, and she really thought she was doing the right thing.  Again, I don't believe it was right, and I am so sorry for the upset.  
serenity blaze
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5 posted 12-19-2001 05:51 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thank you all so much. I knew she never meant harm, but I hadn't heard of such a thing. It was truly un-nerving and I did not know, especially right now, when we are all still so sensitive, if we over-reacted or not. I certainly didn't want any ill feelings over it. It just made for a very bad day, (and night).

I appreciate you all taking the time to help me sort things out in my head. You are all wonderful! Much gratitude.
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6 posted 12-19-2001 10:24 PM       View Profile for RosePetal   Email RosePetal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for RosePetal

my heart goes out to you and your bf. Yes, I would also send the pics back to her with a little note explaining that the pics arent easy to look at. (hugs)
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7 posted 12-20-2001 07:42 PM       View Profile for strbbux   Email strbbux   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for strbbux

This is an old  European custome and someone did this at my fathers wake and I was livid, If they had done it at my sons, I would have said something. I dont like the custom, and I would politely send them back and explain nicely to her that she should have called you and asked permission and a christmas card is certainly not the place to send this. I am so very sorry for you. afte all you have to go through and then someone would do something like this. strbbux
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8 posted 12-21-2001 08:17 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

Karen, even though it is an old custom, it is one I would not feel comfortable with either. And even though she meant no harm, I wish she had contacted you first to see if you would want them. Times change, and customs change. I would tell her how I felt about it, and file those things away. Maybe some day in the future you will want to look at them. Now may be too soon. I am sorry for your emotional pain.
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9 posted 01-19-2002 06:59 PM       View Profile for Alexia   Email Alexia   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alexia

they did that at my grandma's. cept no one sent them in tha mail to us. Thats just wrong. I mean if you wanted pix you would have taken them right? well, the girl might have though you wanted them or something. She probably didn't mean any harm by it. maybe if you want just ask her why she sent them? or you could just send them back to her? and tell her you'd appreciate the fact if she wouldn't have sent them to you. or something along those lines?


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10 posted 01-22-2002 03:54 PM       View Profile for mauddib   Email mauddib   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for mauddib

I find it a little macabre, as to what to do?
I would destroy the photos and return to sender a copy of your favourite picture politely explaining that this is how you like to remember.
Nothing more nothing less.
My condolences to you for your loss.
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