Cultural: A visit to the cemetery - graveside service

Not long after my husband left for Alaska I got a phone call from a man who has come to our church with his elderly mom from time to time.

She had just passed away and he was wondering if my husband would do the funeral.


I told him that my husband was out of the country - so this man had to find another pastor to help out.

And so the funeral was today. It was only a graveside service -

I thought I’d share with you a bit of what happened. It may be different from your traditions. I know that because this wasn’t a Catholic service, it was a bit different from the traditional Roman Catholic graveside service.

First of all, we met in front of the cemetery gate and waited with the hearse and the family and people gathered, so that at 11 am we walked slowly, behind the hearse to the plot. It was quite a walk.


The pastor preached after saying some words about the lady and the group singing Amazing Grace. Then we sang In the Sweet Bye and Bye and another man had a few things to say about this lady. When they were all done with the preaching and that singing, the mortuary workers put the casket into the ground.

Then, apparently they have a tradition where people can throw dirt onto the casket, so a few people did that.

Then while the workers filled over the casket with dirt, we sang Mansion over the Hilltop.


At the end, the family which consisted of the lady’s son, his wife and their son, stood in a sort of receiving line and people could go talk with them, shake their hands, tell them they were praying for them, remind them that their mom is in a better place, etc.

Then we had a long walk back to our vehicle. I had a full car - 7 people in our Galaxy van on the way - only 6 on the way back. One lady went somewhere else. I had the son and his family with me in the car.

My only other responsibility today was to prepare the words for the songs so we could sing reasonably well (I printed out about 20 copies of the songs on a sheet of paper.)

Here are a few pictures of the burial itself and of the workers covering up the casket and people putting the flowers on. (The son had asked me to take pictures.)

It was a simple, but nice ceremony. The lady didn’t have any family except the three - son, his wife and one grandchild, so attendance was small. The word “modest” sums it up.

Polish people take their cemeteries quite seriously. While we were there, we saw a lady walking to a plot with bucket in hand - with some spray bottles. She was going to clean the headstone.

The pictures below show how many flowers and other things they put on their loved ones’ gravestones.

But the cemeteries here are so different from the flat grassy ones in the states with markers that are flush with the grass that are so common now (at least in FL they are). I think a few pictures show it best.

While most Americans don’t actually like to think about cemeteries, it is part of the life cycle. I thought you should see it.

And now you know!

Have a great day wherever you are reading this!

Be sure to check out what my sis has for you in the store!