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Posted: 1/2/2006 8:16:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 6:37:42 PM EDT by patchouli]
I'm a bit inexperienced with death. Until today, I've only known one person in my life who has died. Today, my Grandpa passed away, and I was asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

To be honest. I am very nervous and freaked out. Any words of wisdom for me?

________________________________________________update below__________
I did it. You guys were all correct. I have never received such spot on advice and help. I think you all helped me prepare for it.

Of course it still freaked me out. Held it together, despite seeing family members crying and breaking down, despite hearing great, emotional memories and stories about my grandpa. He had a full honor guard and 21 gun salute and then taps was played. At this point, I let some tears fall. Nobody could keep it together for that.

The funeral director wasn't that helpful. He directed, but wasn't specific about placements, steps, etc. Each time we carried it, we had a different position, and even a different number of pallbearers each time.

I found out really great things about my grandpa and family. There was laughing, crying and everything in between. I heard stories and memories, and found out that my grandma speaks some czechoslovakian.

Anyway, it was shitty going there for that reason, but I am glad my grandpa's pain is over, I'm proud of his life and his family, and myself.

Part of life, I suppose.

Thanks all for your warm wishes and helpful advice.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:17:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By patchouli:
I'm a bit inexperienced with death. Until today, I've only known one person in my life who has died. Today, my Grandpa passed away, and I was asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

To be honest. I am very nervous and freaked out. Any words of wisdom for me?



Don't drop the casket.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:18:03 PM EDT
Twice, my grandmother and my uncle.

I was honored.

And don't drop the casket dude.

My condolences on your loss. I fear I will be doing the same thing this year.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:18:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By walrus:

Originally Posted By patchouli:
I'm a bit inexperienced with death. Until today, I've only known one person in my life who has died. Today, my Grandpa passed away, and I was asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

To be honest. I am very nervous and freaked out. Any words of wisdom for me?



Don't drop the casket.



Wow.

If I could reach across the monitor and bitch slap the shit outa you...
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:19:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By patchouli:
I'm a bit inexperienced with death. Until today, I've only known one person in my life who has died. Today, my Grandpa passed away, and I was asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

To be honest. I am very nervous and freaked out. Any words of wisdom for me?



I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your grandfather. I've been a pallbearer; it's an honor. The funeral home will brief you as to your responsibilities.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:19:19 PM EDT
Grandmother, father, girlfriend's father.

Nobody dropped anything.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:19:22 PM EDT
Yes, too many times.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:19:59 PM EDT
Sorry for your loss.

The people at the funeral home will walk you through it.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:20:20 PM EDT
My Dad was right next to my Mother when she brought me into the world..............

I was one of 6 who carried my Dad to his grave back in November..........

It is an honor to carry a loved one. I sure miss my Dad.

vmax84
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:20:30 PM EDT
I was about 14-15 when I was a pallbearer, and it was a little intimidating. I was worried about the casket being heavy, but it wasn't heavy nor was the job confusing at all.

I'm sorry for your loss. Consider it an honor.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:21:12 PM EDT
YEs, just go with the flow - NBD
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:22:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

Originally Posted By walrus:

Originally Posted By patchouli:
I'm a bit inexperienced with death. Until today, I've only known one person in my life who has died. Today, my Grandpa passed away, and I was asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

To be honest. I am very nervous and freaked out. Any words of wisdom for me?



Don't drop the casket.



Wow.

If I could reach across the monitor and bitch slap the shit outa you...



Why? I said that to one of the pallbearers at my dad's funeral.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:22:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:
If I could reach across the monitor and bitch slap the shit outa you...



Actually its good honest advice.


I was 14 at my Grandmothers funeral. Cold and snowing in Ohio, up a little hill with dress shoes.


My older cousin had told me the very thing before we left the funeral home. I was extra careful, and as I lost footing, I left go so as not to drag everyone down. I recovered and got another grip.


Sorry patch.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:23:22 PM EDT
Both grandfathers and an uncle. The Funeral home will guide everyone on what to do.

My condolences to you and your family for your loss
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:23:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

Originally Posted By walrus:

Originally Posted By patchouli:
I'm a bit inexperienced with death. Until today, I've only known one person in my life who has died. Today, my Grandpa passed away, and I was asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

To be honest. I am very nervous and freaked out. Any words of wisdom for me?



Don't drop the casket.



Wow.

If I could reach across the monitor and bitch slap the shit outa you...



Yes, because what I said was so tasteless and inappropriate. Judging by his post, he didn't seem too upset, so I was trying to make him chuckle a little. If it did upset the poster, that wasn't the attention and I'd apologize to him. Otherwise, kindly refrain from trying to look tough.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:23:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/2/2006 8:27:20 PM EDT by HarrySacz]
Twice this last year,hope it is a very long long time before i have to do it again., My grandpa died in November and i took it well at first but i am really starting to miss him lately.

ETA, Do not worry,there is nothing to it really, it just sucks. Sorry about your Grandfather.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:24:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By walrus:
Yes, because what I said was so tasteless and inappropriate. Judging by his post, he didn't seem too upset, so I was trying to make him chuckle a little. If it did upset the poster, that wasn't the attention and I'd apologize to him. Otherwise, kindly refrain from trying to look tough.



It came across as a bad taste joke..... if you didn't mean that way, then my apologies.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:25:16 PM EDT
sorry to hear about your grandpa

I was a pallbearer at my grandma's funeral a few years ago and it was nerve wracking at first and was only made worse since my pants where stiched up the night before by my sister who left the needle in the pants (didn't notice till I felt a sharp pain in my upper thigh while running towards the casket). Needle imbedded in the skin aside, it went pretty smoothly. Just hold on and keep pace with everyone else.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:26:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By walrus:

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

Originally Posted By walrus:

Originally Posted By patchouli:
I'm a bit inexperienced with death. Until today, I've only known one person in my life who has died. Today, my Grandpa passed away, and I was asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

To be honest. I am very nervous and freaked out. Any words of wisdom for me?



Don't drop the casket.



Wow.

If I could reach across the monitor and bitch slap the shit outa you...



Yes, because what I said was so tasteless and inappropriate. Judging by his post, he didn't seem too upset, so I was trying to make him chuckle a little. If it did upset the poster, that wasn't the attention and I'd apologize to him. Otherwise, kindly refrain from trying to look tough.



I am upset, more than you would know. I was not insulted by what you said, however.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:27:20 PM EDT
It's heavier than I thought.

It was an honor. An honor that I'd rather have not have had to do. But there it is.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:27:22 PM EDT
It's one of the easiest things you'll ever be asked to do, and the hardest. Don't worry about it, just grab it and follow the funeral director.

If he's having some huge fancy funeral with thousands attending both the showing, and the graveside service, and they're wanting all the pallbearers to walk in step and dress the same, that may be different.

I know I've done it for my Father's - there were many people at the showing, but by the time we were loading him into the hearse, most everyone had left. I did it last second, grabbed a few friends, and said "help me carry him to the car". Took all of 15 seconds.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:27:44 PM EDT
Yes. Like others have said it is both a great honor and terribly sad.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:30:47 PM EDT
I'm very sorry for your loss. Don't worry about it...when the time comes, you will do what you need to do. There are a few times in life that we have to do things we really don't want to do, and funerals are one of them. It will be over before you know it...
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:31:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By patchouli:

Originally Posted By walrus:

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

Originally Posted By walrus:

Originally Posted By patchouli:
I'm a bit inexperienced with death. Until today, I've only known one person in my life who has died. Today, my Grandpa passed away, and I was asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

To be honest. I am very nervous and freaked out. Any words of wisdom for me?



Don't drop the casket.



Wow.

If I could reach across the monitor and bitch slap the shit outa you...



Yes, because what I said was so tasteless and inappropriate. Judging by his post, he didn't seem too upset, so I was trying to make him chuckle a little. If it did upset the poster, that wasn't the attention and I'd apologize to him. Otherwise, kindly refrain from trying to look tough.



I am upset, more than you would know. I was not insulted by what you said, however.



I know you're upset, that's not what I meant. What I meant was that you didn't seem to be utterly distraught. I know what the feeling is like, as I've had grandparents die too. Didn't mean it as a tasteless joke, as laughter really is the best medicine (plus it seems like sage advice as others have said the same thing).
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:32:55 PM EDT
I was one at my uncle's funeral a few years back. The funeral home will give you a heads up on what to do, as was mentioned. There was ten of us carrying the casket which was solid oak with the ~200lb body of my uncle in it. We were all a little surprised at how heavy it was (probably around 500lbs), so be prepared.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:37:10 PM EDT
For my Dad when I was 13.

Not really much to tell. Like others said.... lots of pride, lots of hurt. Do your utmost not to trip or stumble. Otherwise you just carry something and set it down. Not a lot of formal procedure.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:41:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/2/2006 8:42:37 PM EDT by Avalon01]

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

Originally Posted By walrus:
Don't drop the casket.



Wow.

If I could reach across the monitor and bitch slap the shit outa you...



It's good advice.

At my Great-Aunts funeral I was a pallbearer and was unprepared for how heavy the casket would be. I banged my corner of the casket on the Hearse when we were loading the body.

Nothing major but there was a definite "bang" you could hear over the silence. It was quite embarrassing.

Av.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:44:19 PM EDT
Sorry to hear that.

I'd be honored to be someone's pallbearer.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 8:49:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/2/2006 8:49:58 PM EDT by Not_so_Clever]
I think I have a lot more of that particular duty to perform in the coming years.

More funerals than weddings in the near future I think.

Turning of the wheel.

Sorry for your loss. My first time was also my Grandfather.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 9:04:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By deej86:
Sorry to hear that.

I'd be honored to be someone's pallbearer.



+1
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 9:05:19 PM EDT
I was a Pallbearer at My grandfathers funeral.
TS
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 9:41:53 PM EDT
I've carried may relatives and a few of my friends parents to their final resting place.

The funeral director will tell you what to do at the right time.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 9:55:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Avalon01:

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

Originally Posted By walrus:
Don't drop the casket.



Wow.

If I could reach across the monitor and bitch slap the shit outa you...



It's good advice.

At my Great-Aunts funeral I was a pallbearer and was unprepared for how heavy the casket would be. I banged my corner of the casket on the Hearse when we were loading the body.

Nothing major but there was a definite "bang" you could hear over the silence. It was quite embarrassing.

Av.



Although poor taste as a joke as advice it isn't too far off. My sons and I were asked at my wifes uncles funeral. He had a GI casket and it wasn't too heavy. My son's were quite proud and we and a few other family friends had no problems. Didn't have to carry too far or over rough terrain or stairs. We knew he had been extremely ill and his death was a release.

Less than 3 weeks later we buried my Father-in-Law. Close to a disaster. The casket felt almost twice as heavy and may have been. My two youngest boys were honorary pallbearers and my oldest and I were pallbearers, alng with his two sons, brother and other son-in-law. Frankly two of them should have been honary because his brother was too weak and the other sil had a bad back. So it actually was 4 out of 6 carrying the load. Down stairs at the church it nearly got away from us once and at the cemetery one of his sons tripped on a root. If at all possible get together at least a little ahead of time and at least go over the route and figure out if there are any challenges. And decide how you will go up or down stairs. The shorter guys should be at the upstairs end, easier to keep the casket as least close to level. Practice, wouild be nice, but probably won't happen.

It definitely is an honor
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 9:58:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By patchouli:
I'm a bit inexperienced with death. Until today, I've only known one person in my life who has died. Today, my Grandpa passed away, and I was asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

To be honest. I am very nervous and freaked out. Any words of wisdom for me?



You will do fine. I am sorry for your loss. It was my grandfather that got me interested in hunting and guns. We would go hunting when I was I kid. Whenever he shouldered his old Remington Model 11, I knew a rabbit was fixin' to die! I wish I could shoot half as good as that half-blind old man could. I miss him. I was a pallbearer at my Mom's funeral a couple of years ago. I understand your concerns completely, but I think you will find that faced with the circumstances, you will be up for the task, just like most other things in life. I wish you well.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 9:58:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By patchouli:
I'm a bit inexperienced with death. Until today, I've only known one person in my life who has died. Today, my Grandpa passed away, and I was asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

To be honest. I am very nervous and freaked out. Any words of wisdom for me?



First, very, very sorry.

Second, you will be alright. Your concern for honoring his memory will overide everything.

I was ok until much later that day.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 10:01:33 PM EDT
Sorry to hear this

I've been one a few times.

It is a honor, no training required


Link Posted: 1/2/2006 10:02:24 PM EDT
Its an Honor. The funeral workers will help you thru it.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 10:27:52 PM EDT
Sorry to hear this bad news.

I have been three times. My Grandpa, Grandma, and an uncle. I am proud to have been asked. That is something no one will ever be able to take away from me.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 10:35:16 PM EDT
So far only once, at my maternal grandmother's funeral. It is an honor and a responsibility...the burden you bear, figuratively and literally, will allow others to deal with their grief more directly, knowing that the departed is in the hands of someone they trust.

As has been mentioned numerous times already, assuming the funeral directors are quality professionals, you're going to have nothing to worry about. That said, a few things i learned in the one experience i had.

- Two guys + casket can easily take up a six foot lane. If you see any narrow sections in the path, double check to make sure you'll all fit through. We did get to do a dry run the evening before the funeral, which helps tremendously.

- There's no rush. Step carefully but don't become so preoccupied with not tripping that you look like you're walking on a bed of nails. The two guys up front drive, everyone else just matches cadence and doesn't step on the other guy.

- Be careful on steep inclines. As we were going up the first flight of (steeeep) stairs from the hearse, my grandma slid about 6 inches in the casket with a sliiiIIP-bump. It wasn't a problem as she couldn't have weighed more than 100 lbs. If she was 250lbs, it could have been a bit of a handful.

Hope that helps. The one upside is it does give you something to keep you busy during this difficult time, which is always a plus.



Link Posted: 1/2/2006 10:42:53 PM EDT
Father-in-Law's funeral in the rain....Luckily my eldest son and I were on the end as the casket was withdrawn from the hearse. Almost lost it. Much heavier thatn we were expecting, especially when combined with poor footing due to the rain.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 11:04:16 PM EDT
I was when I was 17, for my Grand-mothers funneral. I was there in my Dad's place as he was in Montana on vacation and she had died suddenly.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 11:29:16 PM EDT
Sorry about your Grandfather.
You'll do fine, and the funeral director will explain it to all of you, so know who else is going to do the same job, and follow the leader. As has been stated, be careful with the dress shoes with the treadless soles, they can slippery.
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 11:34:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By vmax84:
My Dad was right next to my Mother when she brought me into the world..............

I was one of 6 who carried my Dad to his grave back in November..........

It is an honor to carry a loved one. I sure miss my Dad.

vmax84


Ditto.
I was a pallbearer for many people in my family since I was the oldest male. It was an honor and priviledge to be asked. That is one of the problems of getting old, I'm going to way too many funerals these days. I liked it better in my younger days when i went to mostly wedding etc, but such as life.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 12:06:34 AM EDT
I was for a very very close family friend (like an Uncle). He was an Air Force best buddy of my Dad's. He was there for my birth and my one of my brothers (also named after him), while my Dad was stationed in Vietnam.

We practically grew up together as next door neighbors (couple of times) with their family any time we were stationed at the same base. I grew with their kids (same age as us), and we called their parents Aunt & Uncle... as they did ours.

We spent many Holidays and summer vacations at each others homes. When my Dad retired, he bought the house across the street from them sight unseen over the phone with the realtor.

He had a Military Honor Guard funeral. Funeral home will give you all the instructions you need.

My two brothers and I, his two sons, and another family member helped carry his casket. To my surprise, his casket was very very heavy. My brothers and I are not exactly small too.. we're all above 6'1"+ ( two of us over 200 lbs). His sons are a bit smaller than us, we did everything perfectly, but it wasn't easy. Our main concern was not to tip the casket in any one direction (keeping it completely level & smooth), we were never concerned with dropping the casket...as we would never let that happen. We were glad when they finally got the stand underneath the casket at the church after the long walk.

The Honor Guard even struggled with the casket at the Military National Cemetry. He wasn't a big guy at all (normal size), just that the really nice casket weighed a ton.

Link Posted: 1/3/2006 4:56:27 AM EDT
I lost count a long time ago. It's no big deal though, the funeral home staff does all the real work. The casket itself goes on a carriage in the church and often right back to the hearse for teh trip to the cemetary. The carriages don't work over broken ground, so you'll have to carry at the cemetary, but it's not that bad. Just concentrate on what you are doing and where you are putting your feet, and you'll be fine.

Crying is fine, hysteria is not.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 5:01:55 AM EDT
I was the pallbearer for my best friend about 7 years ago. Honestly I can't say how hard it was or not. They day was a blur. I was in shock for a few weeks.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 5:05:17 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 5:06:16 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 5:07:21 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 5:07:52 AM EDT
Very sorry for your loss.

As others have said, it's not a physically difficult task, though mentally it's painful. It IS an honor though.

Make sure you have a good grip on the handle, watch your footing and be preparred in the event that someone else slips, you may have to suddenly hold a much larger load. The funeral director will guide where you go and what you do in general. At the one's I've done, they give you a special flower for your buttonhole and at the end of the service they asked for all the pallbearers to come up front. Then they released the rest of the folks and we stayed behind.

In a way it's good, it DOES give you something to do and think about at a time you REALLY need it. Bear your load proudly, it's the last time you'll have contact with your grandfathers PHYSICAL remains.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 5:13:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2006 5:14:12 AM EDT by wildearp]

Originally Posted By patchouli:
I'm a bit inexperienced with death. Until today, I've only known one person in my life who has died. Today, my Grandpa passed away, and I was asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

To be honest. I am very nervous and freaked out. Any words of wisdom for me?



Wear good shoes with traction. Leather soles on wet grass will find yourself on your ass.

I have been a pallbearer several times, including last Friday. Sorry for your loss.
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