Funerals Are For The Living

My cousin’s wife died last week and the funeral was Monday.  It was in Maryland and we weren’t able to attend, so I wired flowers.  But I wish we could have been there. 

Also last week, a friend’s brother died unexpectedly in Canada.  Again, too far to go, but we wish we could have been there. 

 We have come to understand the importance of being at funerals — but it wasn’t always that way. When we were young, we avoided funerals if at all possible — they made us uncomfortable and we never felt like we had the right words to say.

We have come to understand that the funeral truly is for the survivors — not the deceased.  They need to hear the nice things people have to say about their loved one.  I have learned to try to share a memory I have of the person, because I hope it helps the person to know that their loved one lives on in memories.  But, most importantly, I’ve come to realize that your presence is really what makes the difference, more than any words you say.

My cousin’s wife was in her 70’s and had had health problems, so her death wasn’t a total surprise, but our friend’s brother in Canada was 46 years old and dropped dead of a heart attack — that was very unexpected.

Life is short.  We should all live as if today is our last.  Funerals remind us of that.

7 Responses to Funerals Are For The Living

  1. Danielle. says:

    So true…we all need to live life in the moment !

  2. Sandra says:

    Amen, Danielle.

  3. tz says:

    my dad died in his 40’s’s a shock. And it was great to hear some of the fun stories that his friends would tell…I probably wouldn’t have gotten to hear some of them in other circumstances.

    I think that’s why ‘wakes’ are such a great idea…it’s more of a celebration of life then death.

    condolences to you and your family

  4. Sandra says:

    Tracey — I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you and your family when you’re dad died so young. I have to wonder — did that influence your interest in becoming a nurse? If so, I would say that is an example of something good coming out of a traumatic event — because I know you are going to be a great nurse!

    You know how they talk about deaths coming in threes? The 16 year old son of a man we know committed suicide two days ago — so that’s three in the last 10 days. Like Hubby said this morning, “When it’s a teenager, it could be something as fleeting as getting turned down by a girl!” Sad, but I suspect true.

  5. YES!! When my father died, the funeral wasn’t something I looked forward to, obviously. But it was such a healing experience, and I will forever be grateful for all the people who attended and for the stories they told me about my father.

    After my dad died, a friend who had never met him and who couldn’t attend the funeral due to distance said to me, “Tell me about your dad.” That made me feel so comforted and good to talk about him.

    I’m all teary-eyed now.

    Condolences on your recent losses.

  6. Sandra says:

    SBW — Three of our parents died within two years in the 80’s, and that’s when we got a “crash course” in what helps the survivors. It is definitely a comfort.

    Your friend asking you to tell her about your dad was such a caring thing to do. I’m going to take a page out of her book, and look for an opportunity to ask our friend about her brother who died. I’m interested, but I’m not sure I would have thought to ask, if it hadn’t been for your comment. Thank you.

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