There it is. I said it. Funerals need to stop with the solemnity. We are all sad, we are all going to miss our loved one… But this is not the opportunity to present hellfire & brimstone, it is also not the time to look at the body and inevitably say “he/she looks so good”, it is a time to gather, fellowship, and celebrate the one who is no longer with us.
I have been to many funerals over the years. Military. Public Figures. Religious. Non- Religious. Rich. Poor. Young. Old. Cremated. Open casket. Closed Casket. Celebrations of life, and everything in between. I find them unbelievably interesting.
I suppose, before I go on, I should note that I am not religious. For many years I was, for many more I questioned everything, and finally I settled. Regardless of your creed, death is certain for all of us. It is a law, not a tragedy. I believe in multiple dimensions, other worlds if you will, and I believe that our souls are forever bound even if our bodies are not.
Back to the point… Our funeral is our last bodily goodbye to our loved ones. Over the years, funerals (IMO) have become more relaxed. You see less structure, and more stories. You hear laughter, see slideshows, and feel a sense of belonging. Families may be getting together for the first time in years. Although the circumstances aren’t ideal, it is always nice to see those familiar faces.
Tonight, I visited the wake of my great uncle. At 89 years old, he went on from this world. He was a pillar of our small community and served as sheriff for more years than I have been alive. Sure, it’s sad that he is gone, but he lived an amazing life. The wake was somewhat formal, with many uniformed deputies, but the mood was light. Old friends talking, stories being told, smiles and hugs all around.
I sat with my grandmother and we talked a little about everything. A few years ago when my dad passed (her last living child) she asked me to take photos at the service. At the time I thought she had went off the deep end, but three years later I am glad that I did. I cherish those as much as I do photos of my kids. It marked an important part of my life, of his life. I happened to look up tonight as they were beginning the Casket Watch, and I have to say it was humbling experience. I was blessed to have known this man. Proud of his service to our country and our community. I knew I had to preserve this memory. For myself. For my children.