I Went To A Funeral…

…and I came away with so many feelings and thoughts.

About funerals.

As I sat there, I wondered why we do funerals the way we do. I don’t understand why we don’t just have a celebration of that person’s life. Why do we think it is okay for a stranger to read some words about our loved one? Often it just the obituary. Sometimes they get a few stories from the family, sometimes not. I don’t see how they can truly catch the essence that was the person without knowing them.

Many times, there are a lot of things that make it feel more like church.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not against church for those who attend, but as so happens often, the person has a Faith and a Belief, but they don’t attend a church. Truly, if I wanted to attend a church service, I would do that on Sunday. Nothing wrong with a prayer or two at a funeral, of course, but sometimes it seems to turn into a sermon. I have even seen people napping through it.

I wonder why we don’t make it more personal?  Why don’t we have someone who knows them, talk about them. I want to remember with someone who actually knew the person and knew what it felt to be around them, to know them, to talk to them, to laugh with them. I want it to be a Celebration of LIFE!

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They say funerals are for the living. I want to gather with my family and friends and hug and cry, but also laugh. I want to celebrate that person. I want to remember events, good times, even times not so good.  I can read the obituary on my own-I don’t need to just know the dates, the facts that we all have. You know, born, school, work, marriage, kids, survived by, proceeded in death by…  Tell me what happened between the dates.  I want to hear all about the dash!

No matter what, it should be what the family wants. But me?  I want a celebration…a CELEBRATION!  Wear jeans, Harley shirts, sweaters, whatever!  Play some upbeat stuff. Rock. Talk about the dash. And smile and laugh as you remember…..

11 comments

  1. I can understand your sentiments. I have been to services like the ones you have described but then I have also had the privilege to attend Celebrations of Life where it really truly is a celebration of the person who lived a full life. I prefer those also. Grieving is such a multi dimensional thing and everyone does it differently which is why I think there are so many different types of services. I definitely want a celebration of life!!!!

  2. One of the many unique things about New Orleans. We do funerals the way you described. Stories, photos, (usually cocktails). And we’re a little suspicious of people who do otherwise.

  3. My younger self conflicts with my current thoughts on the subject; when i was a very little girl, i attended a funeral for my grand father (on my bio fathers side or the family, so i knew OF him but wasnt extremely close with) however, I remember distinctively being at that funeral because it upset me so. while we were there for the ‘viewing’ the room wasnt somber. I heard obnoxious laughter. It angered me! It upset me so much-I can recall that day like it was yesterday. I began to cry uncontrollably I ccouldnt understand why people could be laughing when they just lost their loved one. I felt it disrespectful. now to clarify i do not believe they were laughing about stories remembering HIM. but i was young and really dont know for sure as i didnt hear what the y were talking about.
    fast forward to today; i went to a funeral a few months ago and it had to be the best funeral i attended. the SON bravely shared a prepared ‘story’ talking to his dad. and although i was there as a ‘friend’ to support my friends for losing their dad who i knew from meeting at their family functions (weddings/grad parties) other than that didnt keep in touch, I felt that day that i learned more about him and their families dynamic. it was truly an honor to be there. the stories told made people lightly chuckle (not the obnoxious laughter i heard before) these were chuckles thru tears of mourning. they were consoling. I could feel their pain of loss, but yet i could feel how blessed they were to have him in their lives-her daddy. ( I didnt have that luxury growing up) They truly honored his life and their love for him. I dont know however as much as i’d LOVE to do that for my mom when the time comes, if i would be that brave..to hold back tears and get thru it. I’d have to pray to God for the strength.
    so i guess I’d say the ‘celebration of life’ has to be done with dignity and respect. there is a fine line that could be upsetting to some, who need to mourn differently.

    • I just attended a celebration of life. Music was played-Tami’s favorites. Her favorite foods were served. People talked happy memories. We rode our motorcycles together to honor her. It was a perfect celebration of her life..just as she wanted it to be. I can’t imagine that would have upset anyone. They honored her wishes and it was beautiful. I think there are all kinds of ways to say good bye and none are wrong. I think it is a pretty personal thing. She didn’t want people crying because she was gone, but happy that she had lived. I kind of like that.

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