Funeral Etiquette 101

Surely the Michael Jackson funeral was the most attended funeral of all time, with millions across the world hinging on every moment, every speaker, and every visual presentation.

In the same way I will never forget the image of John F. Kennedy, Jr. saluting as his father’s casket passed, I will never forget the image of Paris Michael Jackson resting on her grandmother’s bosom during the ceremony.  “Bosom” is a word described by Webster’s dictionary as “the chest conceived of as the seat of the emotions and intimate feelings.”  Can any of us possibly image the emotional and intimate feelings of a  a 11 year old girl at the funeral of her father?

That day, it didn’t matter to Paris that her dad was the king of pop…he was ‘her dad’.

Katherine Jackson is the bosom of their family, and Paris rested her head on the very heart of her grandmother.  At a funeral, this is the only place that ‘bosom’ has meaning or significance.   This observation leads me to pose the question as to the appropriateness of Mariah Carey’s plunging neckline?  I know she is a superstar.  I know she was on stage before millions.  But is wearing plunging ‘evening wear’ appropriate for a funeral?

The funeral of my 27 year old daughter was such as solemn occasion that I told the family “Please wear black”.  I was really saying “This is not a happy occasion.”

I had hoped nobody was stupid enough to wear flip-flops to her funeral.  It would have been dishonoring to the life of my daughter, who strove for excellence in everything she did.  My saving grace was that the funeral was at the end of March, and it is cold in Nebraska.  With that said, I can’t tell you how many weddings and funerals I’ve attended recently where guests showed up in shorts and flip-flops.  Weddings, too, are a solemn occasion.  A wedding is a time when a man and a woman make a pledge before God Almighty that nothing, nobody, no thing, will come between them. Funerals, for obvious reasons, are a solemn occasion.  Do I need to explain the gravity of the day that I laid my 27 year old daughter to rest?  Why not throw on a real pair of shoes and a little black dress?

I almost named Megan “Moriah”.  It’s a beautiful name.  Mariah Carey seems to be a beautiful person, inside and out.   She was visibly moved as she sang at the funeral.  Her breasts, too, were oh so visible.  Was it too much to ask, in respect to the occasion, to lock and load ‘the girls’?

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3 comments

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    1. Especially since this week marks the two year anniversary of my daughter’s funeral, I so appreciate your kind post. I write in the hopes that my daughter’s death was not in vain…and that in some small way humanity will glean a spark of truth from our experience.

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Article by: Valerie Bourdain