I thought this would interest you to hear about a Romanian funeral. Ramona has been part of our family for 5 years now and her grandmother died on Saturday morning. She was a Christian and was very ill and is in a better place. She was 83 years old and had 4 sons and 4 daughters and I don't know how many grandkids. As is tradition, they kept the body in the home for two nights. The family brings the coffin to the home and prepares the body and puts it in the coffin. Then the open coffin stays in the house for two nights. The funeral was Monday at 1 pm. We had beautiful weather. One daughter who is dying of cancer was not able to come. She came Sunday for a few minutes to see her mom one last time. They held a service up in the room with as many people as can fit. Then they brought the body outside and had some music. The choir sang It Is Well. Then they put the coffin in the truck (at about 2:20) and we walk behind it to the cemetery. The family had gone the day before to the burial plot and prepared it and dug the grave. Then each family member at the grave site goes and kisses the dead and says their last goodbye. The grandsons lowered her down and then they stayed and buried her too. It was a very unkept cemetery but I know Ramona will go back and fix up her grandmas site with flowers. There were a bunch of kids begging along the way and a bunch of gypsies hanging around the grave site knowing they would receive a free meal after the funeral. I guess an Orthodox tradition is to feed the poor as a good work to help your loved one enter in heaven. Ramona's family is not orthodox but many of the brothers and sisters are. There was a table full of families just there for the food and so inconsiderate of the family who lost a loved one. Then the dinner was almost over and more gypsies came in and were demanding food and we had already taken most of the food away. I can't tell you how brazen they were, I was shocked. One man came over to the table where I was standing and was demanding food for his little child at home. While he was standing there I told him if he had little kids at home he should go to work so he can feed them. He just acted like I hadn't said anything at all. Let me tell you too, these "poor" families are not starving. This one man was very well fed. Yes, they are poor but they are not lacking for food. The gypsies are a completely different culture then the Romanians.
After the dinner there were 150 plates and utensils and platters to be washed. So, we toated them with cars over to Ramona's house and they were washed while squatting down over big basins. Their sink in the kitchen was just too small to wash them all. They had warm water for washing by boiling it on the stove. At 7 pm everything was done and returned to the place where the dinner was. It was a very interesting day. I hope you will pray for Ramona and her family and their many unsaved loved ones.