Unusual Viewing Request

Jan 26, 2010 | 0 comments

This letter appeared in yesterday’s Dear Abby column:

DEAR ABBY: My mother is a spry, 75-year-old woman who has expressed an unusual request. She has told us “kids” that when she is called by the angels, she wants to be dressed in an aqua nightgown or PJs, and to be lying on her side. She says she will be sleeping for a long time, and she wants to make sure she’s comfortable. She also says if we don’t carry out her wishes, she will come back and haunt us.

I have attended many wakes, but I can honestly say I have never seen anything like this done before. What do you think? — WANTS TO DO RIGHT BY MAMA IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR WANTS TO DO RIGHT: I think it’s wonderful that your mother is discussing this now — and I hope your letter will encourage more readers to begin this kind of important conversation with their loved ones.

Because the alternative is to be “haunted” to eternity, you should honor your mother’s wishes. But because laws vary from state to state, readers who want to find out what the law is in their state should visit www.funerals.org and view the Personal Preference page.

My thoughts: It sounds as if the mother wants to be put in the ground laying on her side in her PJs, as that’s how she sleeps in this lifetime. And that’s fine. In fact, the Muslim tradition is to bury the body laying on its right side.

If the son is nervous about putting Mom on display at the wake laying on her side, there’s nothing to stop him from having her displayed laying on her back, but then have the funeral director turn her on her side before the burial. I’m sure her aqua nightgown or PJs will look lovely. An her son won’t have to worry about being haunted.

A Good Goodbye