"Vincent Buonomo's Flying Casket"
Updated: Mar 30, 2022
Tales of Ridiculous Incidents At Family Funerals
I was talking about this few weeks ago and it got me thinking: is this just an Italian thing? Or do other cultures have similar experiences?
I apologize in advance if you think this is too taboo of a subject to be blogging about, but I find the humor in everything. My motto is "If you don't laugh, you'll go crazy". My twisted sense of humor has gotten me through many traumatic events.
So, stop reading now if you have a pickle in your butt.
I'll start with the story of the trick performed with my father's casket on the day of the funeral. With the exception of this particular incident, we were very happy with the funeral home that we had used. They were kind, compassionate, and patient. And, if you're familiar with the whole "wake" thing, you'll understand this comment: "They did such a good job on him. He looked beautiful."
The casket toss happened when we were leaving the building for mass. Instead of heading to our limo and cars, the funeral director asked us all to wait in the street. My mom, brother, son, and I waited directly behind the hearse while everyone else was behind us. The casket was the last to leave the building on one of those little rolling cart things. It would've made sense if it was rolled to the open hearse, but it stopped at the exit, and the pallbearers proceeded to lift it in a rather dramatic manner. Then they lifted it just a little more and, before I knew what was happening, they gave my dad a little toss in the air and caught the casket on their shoulders.
What. The. F@$&.
Am I crazy, or should caskets not be taking flight EVER?! I get it, it's a somber occasion and you want to give the deceased a powerful exit. Fantastic. In my opinion, casket tossing is a powerful statement that should be removed immediately from any funeral home's exit plan.
We also have people in my family who possess what I refer to as the "Casket Jumper Tendency". A "casket jumper" can be defined as any man or woman who, when overcome with grief, quietly approaches the casket, waits 5 seconds, then proceeds to wail and jump onto the deceased. There's no telling who's service will awaken the casket jumper within, so it's good to always have someone positioned by the casket, just in case.
Every now and then an argument breaks out a wake. It's usually due to someone thinking they were snubbed by another family member, because of a will or lack thereof, or because someone is just plain old crazy. As for my family? Let me just say that chairs have been thrown.
Then you have the inevitability of a priest or a deacon mispronouncing names. In my Italian family, there are people who have names with lots of syllables and vowels, as well as people with weird nicknames. Usually the pastor, priest or deacon ends up being anything other than Italian, starts talking about our loved one and sounds like they're talking about someone in another room at the funeral home.
I'll end with the story of my father getting hurt during my uncle's funeral mass. If you've read, "Buonomo Falls", then you know we have a tendency to fall and get hurt a lot. It only makes sense that our accidents happen at funerals, too. In this particular story, it was that point in the mass where Catholics participate in the sequence of stand-kneel-stand-sit-kneel-stand-kneel-sit-stand. My mom put the kneeler down and kneeled before my father had a chance to move his foot. Dad gasped and quietly scolded my mother as one of the feet on the bottom of the kneeler crushed his big toe. What did we do? We laughed at him, of course. It didn't go over too well with some of our uptight relatives, but I couldn't give a crap.
Have you ever seen someone throw themselves on a casket or almost fall into the open grave at the cemetery? Let me know in the comments below!