Monday, June 09, 2008

Next Monday, I will stand at a graveside to lead a service for the reinterment of a child's body. The child died in the 1970's and buried in a faraway State. His mother wishes to have him near her and will bring his body back here.

The theological issues of holding on to the body after death are clear to me. The pastoral issues here speak loudly of the mother's need to have her child near her. Until now, the father did not agree to having his son's body moved. The parents divorced thirty or so years ago, after the son died.

Anyone want to help me plan this graveside service? This is my first re-interment.

The legal and funeral home regulations are fulfilled. No need to worry about those.
Of course, the cemetary will charge for opening and closing the grave. Of course, the funeral home will charge for delivery and handling the remains.

The child received Christian burial years ago. Any ideas for this re-interment?

St. Casserole


Kathryn said...

Oh goodness - what a hard call! I've no direct experience of re-interment, though the C of E material for the burial of cremated remains has scope for adaptation. I'll email you a couple of the prayers that I think are quite helpful...and pray for you, and for the mother particularly, as she revisits her loss in a particularly intense way.

Gracebythesea said...

Luther said we know as much about the resurrection of the body and the afterlife as child knows about life from the inside of the womb.

I did a re-interment recently from one space in a mausaleum to another 'better view', but nothing like you're dealing with.

Still my focus was about the paraclete offering comfort as the family will once again re-experience grief, memories etc as well as the messiness surroundig the first choicer and of course the battle ground in the divorce.

Will email you thoughts and prayers.
Love ya-mean it.

Songbird said...

I've never done anything like this, but I remember how my aunt suffered over a baby buried in a way that made her unhappy, because others made the choices while she was still hospitalized after the birth of this baby who died almost immediately. Can we pray for the past to be laid to rest with the transported remains? Somehow I would be headed that way, I think, for peace and a final rest for all involved.

KnittinPreacher said...

wow. The first thing that popped into my mind was the 23rd psalm -- it sounds as though the mom is again entering the valley of the shadow of death. You are in my prayers as you prepare and lead.

Cathy said...

I have read these suggestions and I am heartened and ever so thankful of you who take care of such delicate and challenging issues.

I know our memorial service was 18 months after my father's death for several reasons, non of which were delicate in nature. But 30 years and it being a child puts a different spin on it.

I will pray for you and the family.

LittleMary said...

oh my. that's intense. good luck with that one:)

and the kitties love their new bed. i will post a photo soon.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

i would keep it fairly short, and i would focus on the mother actually... and Christ's persistent claim on us all, to be with us in the afterlife certainly... but also to be with us in the here and now...

oy. hard days... be good to yourself SC.

Mary Beth said...

I'll not presume to give any advice. But I'll be praying for you.

seethroughfaith said...

no advice but loads of love coming your way