Always go to the funeral

I went to my stepmother’s funeral this weekend. Left my house at 7:15 Sunday morning and arrived back home at 7:!5 Monday night. About nineteen hours of driving, all told.

The relationships Rich and Rae have with their families is complicated. Estranged, for the most part. Yet we all showed up for the funeral.

My son came with me on the trip. He kept remarking how ODD it was to be going to the funeral of a woman he’d never met, yet who was related to him. He asked me why we were going.

I told him what I absolutely believe to be true. We go because a loss of any one of us is a loss to us all.

We go to funerals because death marks the end of that person’s contributions to the world. It marks the end of reconciliation. Death ends hope of future change. At the funeral we mark the fact that this person’s unique voice has no more opportunities to make the world a better place.

It doesn’t matter, I told him, that we didn’t have a relationship. Rae mattered to the world. She mattered to my father. We somberly honor that loss.

It was a pretty good funeral, as these things go. I got to see relatives I haven’t seen in ages. My grandmother is ninety-three years old, and seems set on outliving us all. My dad delivered a fantastic and moving eulogy.

I am glad I went.

Always go to the funeral.

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One Response

  1. I agree in principle. In the vast vast majority of cases, going to the funeral is better than not.

    However, there were a couple of funerals that I could have gone to that I deliberately skipped because they almost certainly would have resulted in screaming fights. I was slightly sad to not go, but by not going, the end result was a lack of becoming reconnected with people. If I’d gone, I’m sure that my relationship with several of the attendees would have deteriorated, and very likely complete estrangement would have resulted, at least a few of which I would prefer to not be estranged from.

    But I completely agree with your point to junior that you gave. It’s an opportunity to celebrate someones life and lament that they’re no longer in the world. And not a small amount, it’s a chance for him to meet some of those other people whom he might not have met or not for years.

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