What I witness at funerals

No one likes to attend funerals. It is not a pleasant time regardless of whether you know the recently departed or not. Bottom line, funerals are sad, unpleasant, and lets face it, not a comfortable place to be.

Having said that, I always try to go to support my friends. Regardless of that inner voice that says to me, “But you won’t know anyone there… what will you say? How will you act?” I squash that voice with the much bigger one (which incidentally, comes from my heart), sternly saying, “You’ll regret it if you don’t go. Because this is not about you, your fears and anxiety. This is about your friends needing as much support as they can get!”

The silver lining, though, is witnessing one key element. Many words comes to describe this element – support, network, even love. It’s a good reminder of how, at the end of the day, one’s community of friends and family, is what makes a person wealthy.

Whenever I leave a funeral, it’s always with this bittersweet thought – there is the sadness and tears I had just witnessed. And seeing a friend so broken heart-ed is never easy. For one, we truly wish we had the power to ease their pain. But we can’t. The mourning process is a natural one that needs to take its own course.

Yet, my willingness to continue to connect with my own network, is re-enforced. And I am purely blessed with the people I have in my life.

While at a friends’ grandmother’s funeral yesterday, my good, long-time friend, sat down with me on the side – we had this exact discussion. No money or job can ever replace the love we saw and felt in that room yesterday. The women whom we had gathered to celebrate her 95 years of life, was a pillar of this success. She had all her 10 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, not to mention, her vast extended family, by her side when she left this world.

Most of us, my friend said, will never have that even though we have great friends and family as it is. But who can say they had such wealth as she did?

And so, I went thinking I was there just to support my friends. I left, however, learning just a little bit more about life and gaining so much more insight just as a person witnessing all this from the side-lines.

This was, actually, Chaeli’s first funeral. Doug was working at the fire station which was only about ten minutes away from the funeral home. He was, however, unable to leave his post, yet sent them a very heart-full email. As the visitations were planned very quickly after her passing, I decided to not arrange for childcare and let Chaeli experience what a funeral was all about.

We had a good talk about what to expect before going, and more importantly, why it’s important to support our friends when they’ve lost some one they love.

Chaeli handled the situation amazingly. When we first arrived, she saw the older daughter of our friends, broken down in tears. It took no hesitation on Chaeli’s part to reach out and give this wonderful girl (and she is truly wonderful) a big, supporting hug.

I must admit I was a proud parent yesterday.

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2 thoughts on “What I witness at funerals

  1. This is an interesting topic for me considering I’ve reached an age where my parents’ generation have all but disappeared from this world and my generation is beginning to disappear. I say this because I’ll miss weddings. I guess I don’t make weddings a priority. But funerals, I don’t miss. I suppose there’s a message there of finality and paying my last respects is better than paying respects to the living, if that makes sense. Besides, with weddings, there’s always a change for divorce, which leaves past guests scratching their head wondering if it was all worth it. But once a person dies–there’s really not going back. It’s final.

    Am I making any sense?

    • Totally – the unfortunate reality is that divorce rates are high these days. I’ve only know two couples in my network that have divorced. That’s surprisingly small so I see us as pretty lucky it’s not higher as the statistics say it should be.

      I try not to miss weddings but most definitely, funerals are really important to attend. I’m more inclined, for example, to travel to another city/country for a funeral than a wedding.

      Though weddings are fun. And if you know a lot of friends going, I think the dancing and laughter is never a bad thing. 🙂

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