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.