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Dead Mennonites – Grandmother Klassen

One of the more unusual Mennonite practices are taking casket and headstone photographs. I’m posting only one with the casket open, of my grandmother Klassen, who died when she was 97. I was a pallbearer. The Klassen grandchildren were pressed into service representing the future of the family, and representative of at least of six different uncles and aunts. I remember being a pallbearer for three of my uncles and/or aunts, but don’t remember who they were. I do remember they died of cancer. Nine of the 10 siblings died of cancer.
The reason for sharing this one open casket photograph is to show my visitors her burial shroud (note the lovely buttons) which she made herself shortly after her husband died when she was only 47. She did have one chance to remarry, but she asked her boys and the boys said no. She lived another 50 years. She showed me how to stook when she was 87, but had cataracts that needed removing when she was 88. They wouldn’t do the surgery, and she was an avid reader all her life. She was blind by the time she was 90 and it was no longer possible for my uncle and aunt to care for her in the house still on the Klassen homestead. She became senile and incontinent soon after. I often went with my mother to visit her in the old folks home where she prayed every day for God to take her.
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