Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wistful Thinking On Funerals

This was written two days ago but I'm just now putting it up.

I'm supposed to go to a funeral today. I'm not a big fan of them, not that there are many people who are. That would just be weird. Actually it's more like I'm not a big fan of social gatherings in general. Weddings, birthday parties and yes, even funerals all cry out "look at me, validate me by paying attention to me." Birthdays and weddings of course are for the people who are alive and there at that moment. Funerals though aren't for the person who died. They're for those left behind. I don't think a dead person cares either way if people have gathered, dressed up and are paying their respects to what kind of a person they were when they were living. It seems more about how the attention somehow makes the grief of the living easier when it's shared.

Personally I feel it’s all rubbish. Like I said, the dead person doesn't care one iota about anything being done "for" them or in their name. Being dead means they're beyond feelings period. I rather doubt when I go I'll have a large outcry of lamenting over my leaving but even if there is a small one I'd rather they do something different for me. Instead of gathering in a church, everybody dressing to impress each other and having people talk who may or may not be telling the absolute truth, I propose whoever feels like it can gather and tell stories about me. Tell why you hated me or tell why you loved me. Tell funny stories that show that I was a human, not some near perfect being because trust me, I'm far from that.
How about visiting me before I die and sharing these things? Anybody can come after you've gone and only speak of the good things. After all, by then you're no longer around to correct them on the details. It is hard to see someone when the end is near when you are sad about the change in them, perhaps because it makes us recognize the frailty of life and that all of us will succumb at some point or another. Whatever the reason I'd rather people share with me while I am dying and then if they must, gather and celebrate the life I’ve led with each other. I've let far too many people slip away and haven't spent time as well as I could have but I am trying. So you can heed this or ignore it, your choice. Once I'm gone even these words will no longer matter to me. Do what you feel like. Do what makes you happy.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

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