Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Funerals are for the Living

I had to be reminded today that funerals are for the living even though they are about the deceased.  I needed that reminder because I was feeling bitter and judgey, if you will allow me to use the word, about the realization that when Lyn passes there will assuredly be individuals attending her funeral who have not seen her in years.

Now, I recognize that these are my emotions and not necessarily a guarantee on a future event.  However, I need to acknowledge them and work through them.  For example, how would I feel if our father who has not seen her since 1978 showed up?  That one is a small chance, I admit, but I needed to examine it.

So, I wondered, what if he did show up?  What if other relatives who have not seen her in years showed up?  (That could change.  There's still time.)  Would they be there to grieve her death?  To support us as we grieve?  To just observe?

Would it matter?  

That's where I was able to stop myself.  Would it matter?

It wouldn't.  Lyn wouldn't be there to be flattered or offended by their attendance.  The funeral won't be for her, afterall.

I thought about the few funerals I've attended and a number that I have chosen to skip and remembered the reasons behind each decision.  I have gone to show support for a grieving friend even though I didn't know the deceased.  I have gone to show respect for a colleague knowing that our place of employment would be insufficiently represented.  I have chosen to not attend because even as a colleague, I felt I would be intruding in a family situation because the funeral was intended to be private.  I have chosen to not attend because the funeral was to be so large and public that my participation would not be noted one way or the other and I did not know the individual well enough to feel impacted by the person's death.

If I had so many reasons, then surely there are just as many or more behind the decisions that people will make when Lyn's funeral is held.

I decided to set aside the feelings of bitterness and the desire to judge.  Funerals are hard enough.  If someone, even our father, decides to attend, then I owe my sister the respect of being a gracious hostess, of holding my peace and standing firm for Mom and my children.

I'm writing this down to remind myself of this when the time comes.  I am, afterall, human and may need a reminder.

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