Thursday, November 01, 2012
November 1st is All Saints Day, and the Day of the Dead in Mexico and other Latin American cultures. It is a day to honour and remember those who have gone before us and to give thanks that they are in God's care and keeping.
Today, for the second time in a few weeks I will be presiding at what I'm going to call a Lite Funeral, a bit like the regular service but less fulfilling. One was a graveside service with family only and this one a matter of minutes with a handful of people invited to attend.
In both cases the elderly mother was beloved by family. And in both instances mom asked the family not to "make a fuss."
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but dying is a big deal. Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, you are no longer in the presence of your loved ones. In most cases that person will be sorely missed and grief may be lasting. Taking the opportunity to say farewell with dignity and respect and even some humour can be part of the process of healing. For those who do have a religious faith, affirming God's defeat of death in Christ can be reassuring.
In each instance the family wanted to respect a parent's expressed wishes. My thought is, let your family know what you do want if you would like a funeral. But don't tell your family not to gather for a ceremonial farewell because you think it will be too much for them. In my opinion it is not the loving thing to do.I have written several times about those whose grief seems to linger because there was no opportunity for expression of loss.
I am frustrated by this growing trend even though I would be pleased never to do another funeral. I am often presiding at the services of those I really care for, and I don't like seeing people in pain. But remember that you are worth the effort --it's about you. Also keep in mind that it's not about you at another level. A funeral or memorial is for those who are left behind. Humans need this opportunity. So respect yourself and let others show their respect.