This week a friend of mine died. I’m not going to cry too much (not here at least), Arthur had a good life. He was a good man. As a believer in God the father and Jesus Christ, I know that he will see our Father in Heaven and our Savior again.
After a death comes a funeral. I’ve seen too many in the last few years. I am not a big fan of funerals. I also know that funerals serve a vital function.
Second things first, regardless of religion or the actual details of the ritual, funerals provide a place and time for people to deal with the death of a friend or loved one. It is a psychologically important event. Going to one to morn, even if it is just to morn with those who morn is a good and healthy thing. That leads to my biggest problem with funerals, people who go to funerals to be seen rather than to morn or lend support. Sure it’s nice to be recognized and popular, but this is a funeral, not a photo op or networking event.
Funerals are an opportunity to say goodby, to express one’s faith, to support each other and reassure those who are morning that they and their loved ones are not forgotten.
Reminding the survivors that they are not forgotten, and supporting and helping them is important. If that’s your purpose, by all means go! If your purpose is to snap a couple selfies and talk about your stock portfolio, try Starbucks.
If you want to help those who morn, keep it real. Say the real heart felt words you can say. Share real emotion. Sometimes even just a shoulder to cry on is a valuable thing. If you say “If there is anything I can do…” mean it. If the most you’re willing to do is give a hug give the hug, it will be valued.
Also, remember that a funeral commemorates not just and end, but a beginning. The lives of those whose parent, spouse, child, or friend will be different from here on in. The need for a kind word and a helping hand will last long after the chapel doors have closed and the last of the donated rolls are gone (in fact emotional triggers may pop up months or years later!).
To morn with those who morn is one of the greatest things we can do for each other. A funeral is an excellent chance to do it. Do it with charity. Do it with faith. Do it with honor. Do it with love.
See you next week.