Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Oh, Angel. Or, you really can't take us anywhere.

I’m pretty sure that the woman at the funeral home had never been faced with anyone quite like Betty, Nick, and me.

She was lovely, she really was. She made the experience as easy as possible. She outlined things we needed, and things we needed to get and do, and offered to take care of every detail, or provide instructions on how to do them.

She was sedate and funereal, but in a good way. Not cheesy, not sales-y. Very thorough, kind, and just all around professional.

And I don't know if you've been in a funeral home. There are sales opportunities galore. There are a lot of swanky coffins. And there are elaborate doo-dads to attach to them. Like little golf bags, or trout on a line, or cars, or the emblem of your alma mater. . .You get the picture.

But our needs were simple. And Angel met them very nicely.

It is a little hard, however, not to raise an eyebrow when you meet someone named Angel at a funeral home. You see from the card that her name is Angela, but she goes by Angel.

At very least, it makes you tilt your head and think, "Oh."

So Angel sat us down to talk about what we wanted. Our needs were straightforward. My dad wanted to be cremated, and that was what we were doing.

Once we got to the point of discussing cremation she said, “Now, do you know what you will be doing with the cremains? Because we can. . .”

Nick cut her off. “I’m sorry. Did you just say ‘cremains’?”



“Yes. When someone is buried, we call them remains. When someone is cremated, they’re called cremains.”

“Did you make that up?”

She was clearly surprised. “Oh, no, no. You see, ashes, well, ashes just sounds too harsh to most people.”

“But cremains? Seriously? It sounds like it should have a trademark after it.”

I’m not going to say we were jovial, because this was really fucking hard, but none of us could overlook this gem.

“My coffee’s a little dark. Could you please pass the cremains?”

“Wow, these cremains are really fresh!”

And so on.

She wanted to laugh, Angel did, you could tell, but she also didn’t know quite what to do.

We asked her if she’d just say ashes. It was easier for us.

And then we moved on to the next order of business. While we were doing so, Betty took a mint out of the jar on the table. She quietly unwrapped it, stuck it in her mouth, and (she thought) very subtly made a face, grabbed a tissue, and spit it out.

With anyone else, this would’ve passed unnoticed. Or at any rate, uncommented on.

Not us.

“Bad mint, huh?”

“Maybe it would go down better with some cremains?”


  1. I like my cremains over easy, with toast.

  2. I've never heard the term cremains before. Angel is definitely worth a head tilt. The 3 of you - Nick, Betty, Lisa - together are adorable

  3. Sarah - I think over easy is the perfect way to serve them.

    HKW - Cremains. It's kind of creepy, isn't it? And thank you. :)

  4. Ranch flavored cremains! Great on a southwest salad!

  5. I'm just going to throw this out there: I don't think that ANYONE named Angela should shorten it to Angel. Unless they pronounce Angela like Ayn-gel-ah. You know?

  6. "We asked her if she’d just say ashes. It was easier for us."
    Ha ha ha ha ha!

  7. our families come from the same stock...
    I'll ask Sean for some cremains in my coffee tomorrow.

    We're burying Mom's cremains in July, I'll have to come up with something witty for the cemetery.

    Dad has the urn on a shelf, but he says it gets dusty ;-)

    love soph

  8. i've never heard that before. why not "remains" for cremation and "body" for a burial?
    oh well, a little dark humor is always a good spice to have around

  9. Lemmonex - Yes! Not just for breakfast anymore!

    Hillary - I am all for pronouncing it that way. Absolutely.

    LJ - Seriously! I'd much rather say ashes! Or really, aren't they all REmains?

    Sophie - Definitely something witty for the burial - she'd appreciate it for sure.

    notsojenny - I dunno. Maybe her funeral home made it up? It's all odd. Why make a distinction even?

  10. I love your family. Can I be adopted?

  11. It's Ok that I laughed at this right? Cause that was kind of hilarious...

  12. Are you certain we're not related? My mom, brother and I sound exactly like you, Betty and Nick. And cremains freaked me out the first time I heard it too. Now, I'll never be able to hear it again without thinking "Better than coffee mate! Cremains in your coffee!"

  13. LMFAO!!!

    for some reason this reminds me of when my mom and i placed my grandmothers Cremains(TM) on the altar at the catholic church at her service and we burst out giggling hysterically in a totally inappropriate and un somber church-like way when we looked up at each other and realized we were both standing there furiously picking microscopic bits of lint from around the urn because my grandmother was such a neat freak.

    the more things change, the more the stay the same :) love you!!

  14. this made me laugh.

    I've seen "cremains" before but assumed it was a typo. I guess not!

  15. Dagny - We would adopt you in one hot second. With delight!

    Princess - I'm very glad to hear that. :)

    Cheryl S - I'm not certain of anything. And I would love to have more relatives! :)

    xuxE - Ohhh, I can totally see you doing that and laughing even harder because it's just so inappropriate! That's hilarious!

    Jenn - I had never seen it before! Was so surprised!

  16. Please. Adopt. Me. Please.

  17. Sean in NOLA6/02/2009 6:32 PM

    So if you get fed to the fishes are you fimains? finmains? I know you are going through a difficult time and I am glad there are these humorus interludes for you all.

  18. Seriously. She HAD to make that up. I've NEVER heard anybody call them cremains before. And TWO of my friends have had their parents cremated within the last two years (that sounds weird, doesn't it?). But you know what I creameen.

  19. When my time comes, I'd like my cremains en croute, please.

  20. Cremains just makes me think of Craisins, which I think is equally stupid.

    For the record, if you are eaten by fishes, then you are poop. Just saying.

    Carlin had a similar reaction to the word 'tits' in his dirty words bit. Check out the 4:55 mark here:

    Great story, and not at all surprising that you're the one telling it. :)

  21. Just creaminn me now. I died laughing at your post and all of the comments!

    Both of my parents were cremated. I haven't had a ceramony yet for either of them. They were divorced, so I seperated them. My ma is in the library and my pa is in the uh,er,umm...living room? But she should really be in the kitchen and he should be in the bathroom. Just sayin'

  22. ok I am totally mortified that I spelled cremain and changed it into a porn word! so sorry but I am laughing even harder now!

  23. Well, having been to a funeral home before, I WISH someone was joking around, or that I was feeling jokey at the time. Would have made things a little easier. Well, coffee would have helped too (ixnay on the cremains. It really does sound like creamer or coffee whitener).

  24. Its kinda nice to know I am not the only one who comes out with funny inappropriate stuff at the wrong time. I try really hard not too but sometimes the funny is just too big you know what I mean?
    My dad died about 11 years before my mum and when mum died she was buried on top of dad at at the funeral, at the graveside no less, out of my gob comes some absurd remark about how dad is probably loving mum being on top for a change......OMG cringe!! Luckily most who heard were good friends of my parents and thought it funny too but some not so much.

  25. Humor was the only way I could get through my dad's death, and it still helps me along. Glad it's given someone else a moment to just laugh, even if just for a second.


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