During the three days of "open house for guests", the family members will be ready to accept the guests from morning till night (because soon after the death is found out, they'll immediately contact a newspaper to put an ad about the details of the funeral and where you can visit the family and pay respect to the deceased). The family members usually provide drinks (water) as well as snacks (sweets, peanuts) and fruit (usually oranges). Guests will come along with a gift of money, pay their respect, talk to the family members present there, and then go back home. The whole thing is a tiring event for the closest family members especially.
If the deceased is buried, on the fourth morning usually only the closest family members and their relatives will go and escort the body to the burial place. And afterwards usually the closest family members (the wife/husband of the deceased) would treat them lunch.
Because my dad was cremated, they had arranged a specific date and time afterwards to bring the ashes and spread it to the sea, so my Mom and bro rented a car and a driver to take them there (Bandung is in the middle of Java island so it's rather far from the sea).
Here in Sodankylä apparently it's a whole different thing, even though I suppose things can also be done by request, but still...The funeral will be held on in a few weeks. Can't be done any sooner because the church is fully booked. Before the funeral, the church will ring the church bell on June 5th eighty times (the age of the deceased), so I'll be listening to that later on.
So we'll have a funeral service at the church, then the funeral will commence, then we'll all go to a certain place to eat. The option to eat depends on the family members: either to serve only coffee and sweet bread/cake or to serve those after serving a main course. MIL will have to talk to the catering service about what she wants.
On Wednesday first of all we went to buy the casket, then we went to church to book the funeral service. Because MIL hadn't booked any burial spot, we went there to look at the empty spots so that MIL could find a good place for FIL and herself (so she booked two plots because she wants to be laid to rest next to FIL).
After that the funeral home director had prepared FIL and laid him down in the casket, so we went there to say our last goodbye. MIL then proceeded to put on FIL's socks, covered FIL's face with a kind of face cover that was already provided, then the three of us (me, MIL, funeral home director) put the casket lid on top and then put some screws on them. Then along with BIL we lifted the casket on to the back of the funeral home director's car. MIL sat next to him in the car, whereas BIL and I followed it with his car (R2 had work whereas BIL and I were still on summer holiday). Once the casket was put in a cooler, we went back home using BIL's car.
MIL still has so many things to think about...writing down the list of people who may come (if no more than 28 people, then we'll be able to use the small chapel in the cemetery area - but if there are more than that, we must use the church), the menu for the guests after the funeral, then what kind of hymns to sing during the funeral service, ordering the tombstone, sorting out FIL's stuff etc.
Anyway, MIL seems to be doing better today. Calmer. Yesterday she was still understandably shaky, esp. in the morning. Anyway, preparing for things like this makes me think of my own mortality. What kind of ending do I want for myself? I'd rather have the cheapest and the most practical kind available - cremation if possible, though I'm not sure one can do it here in this village. Oh well, when the time comes, it all depends on whoever is available to take care of it. :-)
P.S. I've been browsing for flower wreaths/bouquets for hours 'coz apparently over here family members and guests would bring flower bouquets or wreaths to church. I've visited two flower shops here to find out about the models and prices, but basically speaking they can do pretty much anything per request (provided that they can get the flowers I want, because up here in the north the choices aren't as many as the south), so I really need to think of at least the colour combination of the flowers so that they can help me with the type of flowers. I also have to think of what to write on the card that'd go along with the flowers. It ain't an easy task, I tell ya (because I've never been to a funeral here and I don't really know the customs)!