Contrary to long custom, the services for the deceased at the Pentecostal church my wife was raised in no longer feature a body. In fact, in his sermon, the minister expressed positive delight that there was no body. The service consisted almost entirely of family members reminiscing. There were narratives of reconciliation and new relationships with the youngest in the family. Old sores were tacitly opened but everyone made nice.
For me, the service brought out some people I did not know, incl. a cousin of my nephew’s father who resembled the brother of my nephew. Incl. the latter, 3 of the eldest are deceased. Out of seven children, my sister-in-law lost three. I say “lost” rather than “has lost” b/c she herself passed a few years ago. But the little tykes who used to come to our house now bring their own little tykes to such events and it becomes a bit of a reunion, though most everyone has to catch flights back home too soon after the service and the dinner that followed.
Just a cultural note here: in the past, the church would always serve food. That was b/c restaurants would not serve Blacks. But now we get the same deadly crap food we always do at chain restaurants. Oh, well.
And another cultural note: Ruby Payne in her Framework for Understanding Poverty notes that in many homes where poverty rules, commonly there is a TV or a radio playing in the background. Seldom is there silence. This, in her context, relates to the idea of quiet time for homework, etc. I remember visiting a relative I had never met and my wife had seen decades earlier, and one of the first things she offered was to turn on the television! My brother-in-law made the comment, when I noticed a fancy device he had that was playing a television program, “I always got me a little noise going on.” That makes me wonder if this is about something other than entertainment.