Mae-Mae was the life of a party and it made sense for her family to do something fitting for her final celebration
It sure looked like Miriam Burbank had an amazing time at her last party that was thrown in her name by her two daughters. Zymora Kimball and her sister weren't letting go of their mom the old-fashioned way. Instead, they chose to bid their mom goodbye in a manner that can make you do a double take.
Miriam Burbank, or Mae Mae as she was lovingly called, was propelled up in a chair with a 'case of Busch beer... a menthol cigarette in her hand, and a disco ball flashing overhead,' WGNO News Channel reported. The unique part about her farewell? She is dead!
Her farewell service, which was nothing less than a grand party, reflected Miriam's love for the cold beer and a glass of occasional scotch, that was kept near her chair.
Ah, the good old days when surgeons showed their skill by embalming their dead mistresses and putting them on display. Naked. pic.twitter.com/hm8tExFNDz— Anna Mazzola (@Anna_Mazz) 8 October 2017
“She gets down 53. She’s not a normal 53,” Burbank’s daughter Zymora Kimball said in her interview with WGNO.
So it was only valid that her funeral described everything that she was in real. “I didn’t want her to just go, just go. So, I had to do something amazing so she’s never forgotten,” Kimball explained.
Burbank’s daughters had a vision and presented it to the funeral directors at Charbonnet Funeral Home, located in Treme, New Orleans.
Leading the campaign for creating experience-based, unconventional send-offs, Charbonnet Funeral Home's intern funeral director Lyelle Bellard explained how it all went with Burbank's daughters. “They said they didn’t want a traditional religious type service,” he said about the unusual demand. "That she was just one of those people that just enjoyed life, enjoyed living, just enjoyed people," he added.
Thus came the idea of giving Mae-Mae the funeral service she deserved. Burbank is seen sitting at a table with attention to details like her fingernails painted black and gold alongside a Busch beer and menthol cigarettes. The whole service caught the fancy of the town and was well received by friends and family members.
“When I walked in, I felt like I was in her house and I didn’t hurt so much,” sister Sherline Burbank said. “Because it’s more of her, and it’s like she’s not dead. It’s not like a funeral home. It’s like she’s just in the room with us.”
Initially, there was some resistance but nothing would stop her daughters from going ahead with the plan.
“A lot of people didn’t accept what I was doing,” Kimball explained. “I didn’t let that stop me, and I know she’s happy with how she’s looking. That’s her, that’s Mae.” In the end, everyone was pleased. “I think it’s amazing, for him to capture someone’s actual life, their lifestyle. The way they lived,” family friend Lisa Moore said.
But Burbank isn't the first New Orleanean to have been a part of a unique send-off.
In April, Mickey Easterling, a known socialite and philanthropist of the New Orleans social circuit, was given a fitting goodbye funeral party where she is seen 'sipping' on champagne, adorned with a pink feather boa and surrounded by flowers.
Another famous personality, jazz musician "Uncle" Lionel Batiste, was also given a farewell in the same manner when his body was propped up at a funeral home as mourners said goodbye to the New Orleans legendary musician.
Caleb Wilde, a sixth-generation mortician in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania, who tweets and blogs about the industry, revealed in his interview with ABC news about how "extreme embalming" is catching up with people. He said: "Most funeral homes, the most extreme thing they might do is dressing the deceased in shorts," he said, "so it’s a very rare thing."
However, the time taken to get things going in a funeral service of this nature is mind-boggling. Wilde remarked that it would take "quadruple" the typical number of hours to prepare such a unique funeral experience.
"It would mean we would have to change how we embalm a person. We would likely have to use a harder fluid so the body would stay stiff in that position and [the person would] have to be embalmed in the position they would be viewed," he said. "If we were given that request, it would certainly be something we would take a hard look at."
Who are we to complain? But we would love to know what you think about the same.
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