Do you attend funerals? Some people refuse to go to any. Some people attend every one that comes along. I’m one of those in-between people…depends on my mood of the day. And a bit on who the deceased was in my life. Did I know them a long time? Did I work with them? Were they arm-length friends? Family member? It may seem odd to Readers, but that last category is the one I attend the least. I am not close to the distant family I have. I didn’t grow up with much family around us. My mother’s brothers all died at young ages (my mother lived to be 86) so I did attend a number of those. (Have I ever told you that my mother was one of 8 children, my dad one of 7?)

Over the years I have attended some wonderful funerals, or as we tend to call them here, memorial services. It’s seldom that the deceased is at their own service. Those who lived a long, productive life, always giving to others, always benefitting the community, are the ones I really enjoy. You hear inspirational stories of what they accomplished in their life. You hear about the history of their family and how many overcame great disadvantages to make it and succeed in life. Secrets are often revealed at these services.

Yesterday, on a 104-degree afternoon, I headed out to the funeral of a gentleman who died on Sunday (a really quick turnaround for a service on Wednesday) and who had recently turned 100 years old. This man had lived an exemplary life. He was a devoted husband, caring for an invalid wife for over a decade before she succumbed. He had raised two successful sons. He had a good career and was well known for what he did in all areas of his life.  I had known him for 42 years of those 100. I expected the service to be well attended and the stories would lift my soul.

Hah! Fooled me. There were no stories. Only TWO long sermons on the same Bible passage, one preached by the man’s 72 year old son, a minister, and one preached by the youngish pastor of the church where the deceased had been a member for 60+ years. There was no live music as the church no longer has a music director but has switched over to a rock n roll band to lead praise choruses on Sunday, and none of the hard rock band members were available on a hot weekday afternoon. Although the songs that were selected were old standard hymns, the canned music did not match the words displayed on the screens. The youngish pastor hardly knew the life of the old time member. He mispronounced the name of the man’s deceased wife. And again, there were NO STORIES.

This was one funeral where I not only grieved for the life gone, but for the poorly executed service that did not do justice to that life.


12 responses to “Funerals

  1. Have attended only two funerals, my mom’s and my dad’s. My dad’s was out-of-state and only reason attended was to see what he looked like as I’d had no contact since I was six months old and was curious. Did not attend funerals of brothers and sister and have made it clear I do not want a funeral/memorial service for myself. Only other funeral would consider attending is former sister-in-law, if she goes before me, as closure on that part of my life, that side of the family.

    • My sister hates to attend funerals and has requested that no service be held for her when she dies. She also wants to be cremated and her ashes scattered as she wants no burial site for people to visit.

  2. Too bad they didn’t ask you to prepare his eulogy, would’ve been more personal.

    • Although I knew the deceased for many decades, I wasn’t a close friend. There were others, though, who could have told great stories of all that he did. There were also no photos which I found sad.

  3. Everyone deserves to have a nice memorial at the end of their life. I’m sorry that your friend didn’t get it.

    • Me too. Living 100 years is quite the accomplishment. I have attended a few other 100-year-olds’ services and there were so many photos and wonderful memories shared. I was saddened that the church didn’t do more to memorialize this man who gave so much of his life to church service.

  4. My first funeral was when I was 2 and my great grandpa died. It was held from the parlor of their large farm house. I don’t remember it, other than walking in through the front door and seeing all those people. My next funeral was the next year–it was my grandpa, died at 49. Also from the parlor of their home. I remember quite a bit of that one. I’ve been to more funerals than I have weddings, I suppose. I generally am comfortable at funerals and have a lovely one planned for myself. HAH!

    • I have made a few plans for my own service. I have also requested that cake be served because I love cake. I attended a funeral of a man who loved ice cream and so the reception was ice cream sundaes. Perfect!

  5. I do attend funerals, but not often. And I much prefer a memorial service to a funeral, or a celebration of life. This gentleman’s life was NOT celebrated at all, and as you said, he deserved better. 😦

  6. I’m sorry for you and the others. Perhaps he didn’t mind.
    Family and good friends….I have grandchildren now, and a lot of great G’children. That’s about it.

  7. Judy Miller’s comment mad me think of my feelings about my own funeral. I don’t want one. I’ve told my husband that he can have one for me if it suits him because funerals are for the living, and I would be fine with anything that comforts him, but I have no desire for one.

    I go to funerals when I’m close to someone and sometimes just out of respect, but I skip a lot of them, too. I usually feel guilty. 😦

    • I don’t think you should feel guilty. I know of many people who just do not attend funerals. I would rather see people and enjoy their company among the living. It seems too many times we only see certain people at funerals.

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