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Service is for the Family

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Joe Varsalone died yesterday. He was only 91, but had been in the hospital for the last two weeks. He had leukemia, and had been getting a transfusion every four weeks for the last two years. Murray Smith called with the news, talking pretty fast. Murray is a contemporary of Joe, and Murray keeps telling people that he is going to live to be 100, so I think he might be a little worried. I just tell them I’m probably good for another twenty years. That way, I don’t have a fixed date to die, which takes the pressure off.

Anyhow, I used to wait tables at the Country Breakfasts with Joe, and he was an old time Kiwanian who used to do the 50-50 every week until he got too feeble to make it to the meetings. The viewing is today from 4 to 6, and the service is at six. I don’t like funerals much, but I’m going to this one for Joe’s family.

When I was at Case, I lived in a funeral home one year with two other guys. We had the third floor to ourselves, which was like a big apartment except for the missing kitchen. All we had to do was to be sure one of us was there from 6 PM until 6 AM every day and to answer the phone – correctly.

One of the funerals had a rich woman laid out for three days, and there was only one visitor. She had been 94. I learned that from the visitor, who had been her maid. When I asked her why there weren’t any other visitors, she said that all of the family and friends were dead. It reminded me of the old Classical Greek ideal – to die immediately after you crowning achievement. That always bothered me because I didn’t know when I had hit my peak, and I don’t mind retirement anyhow.

The bottom line is this; Joe needs to have some mourners to make his family feel like he is missed.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I don't know about you.... but I plan to live forever!!!! Well that's my goal anyway!
    2812 days ago
    Funerals aren't supposed to be fun, but I've been to some that were close. Sharing our memories can bring on laughter and a lot of good feelings. Be sure to share yours with the family. I agree with Brewmasterbill. Community support can make a "tough time a LOT easier." The story about the 94-year old should inspire us to continue making friends and to continue doing things that are relevant.
    2812 days ago
  • SPEEDY143
    You are a good friend emoticon Funerals are hard to go to but always worthwhile. Not only for the family's peace of mind but you always learn something about the dearly departed that you didn't know before.

    We really do have it all backwards. I'm a huge believer in giving flowers to people before they die and celebrating their life with them while they are still here.

    91... life is short!!! emoticon
    2812 days ago
    Dying really sucks anyway and to not have anyone at funeral really sucks. I wonder sometimes who will show up at mine.I guess if all my kids show up it should be a good showing.Unless I ban them .
    I don't think I would like living at a funeral home.Just a little creepy
    2812 days ago
    That's very considerate. At my father's funeral we had an amazing turn out. It was hugely supportive to us. I almost felt bad because I found myself having a good time and a lot of laughs remembering my dad with people I hadn't seen since I was a kid. It made a tough time a LOT easier.
    2812 days ago
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