My Nan passed away recently and decided that she didn’t want to have a funeral. I can understand this to a point. I assume she didn’t want people spending money and she didn’t want a fuss.
We still had a family gathering, we still shared our memories and we still looked at photos of her throughout the years. We spoke about things we remembered and my Pa asked my cousin to sing ‘I Will Always Love You’ (Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton). I had prepared a little something to say. I wasn’t sure if there was going to be anything said and the celebrant part of me would have been really upset if others spoke and I hadn’t written something for the occasion.
It got me thinking and, I think more than I did before, that the funeral isn’t so much for the person that has died. Yes it is ABOUT them, but it isn’t FOR them. It is for the people left behind, heart broken, lost and grieving. It is about having a time and place to come together and to talk about this wonderful person that was a big or little part of our lives.
For me it is a time to reflect on the life that they had and the wonderful things that they did. The last few family members that passed away I have conducted the ceremony, so for me it’s very different than attending a funeral. I think that it is a really valuable time to even learn something about the person that you didn’t already know, even people that you have known all of your life. Other people can share stories and their memories and that way you can always learn something about people.
I’ve also blogged about planning your own funeral in the past and raised some questions about the details of your funeral and is that something that you would think about. Would you choose songs? Poems to be read?
Do you think it is part of the grieving process and seeing what they meant to other people helps with realising that they will not be forgotten? Every time I go to a funeral people always say how lovely it is to see people that they haven’t seen for years and that they wish it was under happier circumstances. I got to see cousins that I haven’t seen for around 20 years and cousins that I see every couple of years. I loved that part of it. It’s not the happiest of occasions but these are the people that see you at your worst. There was a lady who was there and I recognised her the instant that she walked in the door although I hadn’t seen her since I was a small child. It was one of my aunties oldest friends. I think a funeral teaches us a lot about family, and friendships and love.
What do you think? Do you think it is important to have a funeral? Or don’t think that it matters if you have one or not?