Funeral Homes

crossesI hate funeral homes.  I’m not sure that anyone likes them, per say, but I have a phobia of them.

It all started when I was 6-years-old.  My great grandmother died, so my family was at the visitation.  A thunderstorm ripped through town, and the funeral home lost electricity.  I’ve suffered from nightmares ever since.

I toured a funeral home in 6th grade as part of a Death and Dying unit.  Mom hoped this would help cure me of my fears, since I would then understand what happened “behind closed doors.”  This only worsened my fears… since I now knew what happened “behind closed doors.” 

I avoid funeral homes at all costs.  Quite simply, I don’t go unless it’s family member or a special friend.  IF I do go, the casket is at one end of the room, and I stay as close as possible to the opposite end.  (Even as I’m typing this, I fully realize that this is an irrational fear.  After all, it’s not like the dead body is going to “get me.”) 

I was forced to face my fear in 2002 when my dear friend Esther died.  I received a phone call from my pastor the night before the funeral, “Serena, the family knows how close you were to Esther, and they want you to give the eulogy tomorrow.”  I kindly explained that I would be in attendance, but I didn’t think I could possibly maintain composure enough to speak.  “I’ll put you down after the prayer,” he said as he hung up.

I didn’t sleep that night. 

The next day, the funeral home was packed…a testament to all the lives she touched.  After the prayer, my pastor called me to the podium to give my final farewell.  I was nauseous and weak in the knees as I walked forward.  Lord, give me strength, I prayed. 

With all the people there, the podium was practically on top of the casket.  (I’m not exaggerating here.  I could have reached out and touched her body.) 

I gripped the edge of the podium and held myself up, my eyes looking only at my notes and the audience.  I made it through the eulogy without passing out, which is perhaps one of the biggest miracles I’ve personally experienced.

I have since also spoken at my grandmother’s funeral.  I’d love to tell you that these experiences have forced me to “get over” my fear, but they haven’t.  Funeral homes still creep me out, and I’m guessing they always will.

What are you afraid of? 

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~ by Serena on March 24, 2009.

6 Responses to “Funeral Homes”

  1. It would be easier for me to make a list of the things which I do not fear…

  2. Just to let you know Serena, i live right behind a grave yard. I mean it’s no big deal, it’s whateve. Secondly on the way home from FQ John and i saw a grave yard with a BBQ grill and a picnic table in it. I thought it was commical but owell what ever floats the boat.

  3. I’m afraid of treadmills now. Ridiculous pieces of machinery they are!

  4. Graveyards freak me out too… treadmills, not so much. 🙂

  5. […] to my phobia, my wonderful fiancé agreed to go in first to make sure there were no dead bodies while I stood […]

  6. […] I.  Don’t.  Do.  Memorials.  (Are you getting the picture that I was NOT excited about this?  I’m sure you see where this is going…)  […]

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