Respect for the Dead

Isanti News

August 12, 1937

Last week I had three funerals to conduct and at each of these I noticed and felt things which jarred me much. They set me to thinking and I believe that a little expression of what I thought might prove beneficial, and be productive of, a greater respect for the dead, and a more humane consideration of the feelings of those who have suffered the loss of some loved ones.

The first of these was a burial of a young woman who had died at the Epileptic Colony. The funeral was very simple. Only the mother and sister of the departed were present. There was nothing wrong about the number. But what revolted against me most decidedly was the fact that we had to drive right through the barn-yard at the Colony to get to the graveyard. That made me sick inwardly when I thought of the mother and sister seated behind me in the car. To me it gave the impression that we were taking the body to a “dumping off place”. (I understand it is more repulsive in the springtime of the year when one must make one’s way through manure piles before coming to the cemetery!) Would you like to have your loved one transported through such surroundings on his way to the grave? I think not. It is a pity that such things have to exist. I understand that a road is going to be built direct to the cemetery grounds, but it is slow going, it seems. In the meantime, many a mourner will be further torn apart in his heart by this barnyard episode at the Colony. I do not mean to criticize those in immediate charge of the Colony, for they may feel it as keenly as we do and be helpless in correcting it, but I fear not to criticize the State for allowing such deplorable conditions to exist. The Colony grounds are so very beautiful that one expects to see that beauty carried out to God’s Acre amid the oaks. We trust that that will soon be a reality. It will help soften the aching hearts of the mourners, instead of lacerating them.

Rev. Verner A. Granquist

Faith Lutheran Church, Isanti, MN