The Mourning Yoga Pants

by admin on June 4, 2015

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about when my grandpa died. His second wife (who has been my grandma for as long as I can remember, married when I was an infant) had her own family, grown children and grandchildren when they got married. I never knew them well, they didn’t come to events for my grandpa’s family and we didn’t go to events with grandma’s family. There was never any bad blood, it was just how we worked it out. Both of their families were huge and settled, trying to integrate them was just logistically impractical.

When grandpa died one of the step great grand nieces showed up to a Catholic ceremony in flip flops, a tank top, and yoga pants. She didn’t understand why people were upset, it was all black, “That’s what you do at a funeral, right?” (Her own words exactly.)  She tried to sit up front in the first few pews, reserved for immediate family and surviving spouses of siblings that had passed. Grandma had to walk her back further into the church and sit her down in another section.

She sat through the ceremony on her phone, as I found out later from one of my mom’s cousins. Updating Facebook, playing games, not paying attention at all to what was going on around her. When it was time to drive to the grave site she practically ran to her car so she could be first in line behind the hearse. We got to the grave site and she made a huge show of being so upset she could hardly stand, she needed to sit down. She didn’t wait for the pallbearers to carry the casket down, she started right down the hill to the grave site. My grandma had to rush over to her and grab her shoulder to stop her and let the casket go first.

Grandma leaned in close and said something to her and the girl. Girl looked over in my direction and pulled a disgusted face. Behind me were my grandpa’s two surviving siblings (in their late 80s and both having suffered strokes) and their spouses and the surviving spouses of his other two brothers, also elderly. We let the older generation have the extremely limited graveside seating, my mom and my sister and I all stood directly behind them and tried not to cry. I glanced over at one point, there was a car horn and screeching tires on the street, and I saw her standing around looking bored, shifting her weight and fidgeting restlessly before pulling her phone out and typing on it again.

After the graveside ceremony she immediately bolted to her car and drove off. The rest of us lingered for a bit before heading back to the church where there was a sandwich type luncheon provided for us. She had finished a plate of food and was going back for a second plate before anyone else even showed up! (It was obvious, she still had the telltale leftover bean sauce and a bit of potato salad still on her plate.)

I overheard her later on when the luncheon was almost over. “Oh, no, I never really knew him all that well, but it’s so sad when people die, you know?”

Let me be clear, this is a woman in her mid 20s. I don’t know where her immediate family was or why anyone else on her side of the family (there were about five or six of them present) didn’t say anything to her. My mom tried at one point, and so did the cousin who saw her on her phone during the service, she waved them off with her hand and scoffed audibly. My grandma was the only person she seemed to listen to, so in addition to burying her husband of nearly thirty years she had to corral disrespectful family members as well.

I’m glad it was handled. I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad that the next time (and probably the last time) I see this woman will be at my grandma’s funeral where she can go all out mourning, I’ll be polite and respectful and give her and her family the space they need. 0603-15

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

don't blink June 8, 2015 at 9:38 am

The clothes – inappropriate, but some people dress inappropriately at weddings and funerals, either because they don’t know or they don’t care.

The behaviour – arriving before the casket, appearing bored, serving herself before others etc – the same. She either doesn’t know how to behave in a formal setting, doesn’t care, or both.

The phone, however – you would have to have spent your life on a deserted island not to know that using a phone in such circumstances is inappropriate and disrespectful. She knew… she just didn’t care.

Irritating, galling, and annoying, but you cannot control people like that without making things worse.

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just4kicks June 8, 2015 at 11:12 am

Just for giggles, I asked my 11 (girl) and 13 (boy) year old kids, who have never been to a funeral,
“hey…if you were going to a funeral today, what would you wear”?
After the puzzled looks, and assurances no one we knew had died,
my daughter said “nice, church clothes in black”, and my son said “black or dark clothes,
and probably a suit for a man”.
If kids who have never been to a funeral know what is considered appropriate, so should a woman in her twenties, in my own opinion.

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Michele June 8, 2015 at 3:44 pm

The only thing I have to add is, why did your grandmother need to be the one to deal with the behavior? Couldn’t your mother or one of your siblings or cousins have politely informed this girl of her behavior?

About the clothing: people don’t know how to dress anymore. This is more of a reflection on them than anyone else.

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Michelle June 8, 2015 at 4:04 pm

I don’t buy the she’s young or did not know any better excuses either.

When my sister’s MIL passed away, the MIL’s daughter and children came to the wake dressed in cut off’s, midriff shirts, barefoot, with a bucket of KFC. Yes, that really happened.

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just4kicks June 10, 2015 at 2:56 am

My uncle brought a six pack of beer to my grandpops’ funeral….
would’ve gone great with the KFC. 😉

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MamaToreen June 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm

I believe that stufff happens, but it sounds more like one of Jeff Foxworthy’s redneck jokes

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just4kicks June 12, 2015 at 5:05 am

@Mama Toreen: Yes, it does.
My Uncle was a great man, with a wonderful sense of humor and a big heart.
Unfortunately, he also had a big drinking problem, which put him into an early grave.

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Enna June 16, 2015 at 4:56 am

I can see why the clothing would have raised a few eyebrows and might have caused some offence but that is nothing to the way this woman has behaved. I think she would have been forgiven her clothing transgressions if she had behaved and not done things like use her mobile phone.

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Elle July 8, 2015 at 12:01 pm

A priest once told me about a funeral he attended (not as the officiant), during which the minister preached that if everyone believed strongly enough, the assembled audience could raise the person from the dead. He got carried away, and so did one side of the family, that it started a fight and the police had to be called. There is no limit to the insanity of humans.

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