Monday, June 28, 2010

A Funeral to Die For

There’s nothing like attending a funeral to give you pause and direct your thoughts to your own mortality and the state of the world in general. I discovered this while attending a funeral this morning with my oldest son. A young friend of his had died most unexpectedly and he and I attended to honor this boy.

In my day, funerals were considered a fairly formal event, especially those held in churches. One would dress up to show honor and respect for the newly deceased. That doesn’t seem to be the case these days.

The clothing styles sported by the young mourners varied from the casual to the obscene. I’m sure the young man in the Grateful Dead t-shirt and dirty torn jeans thought the rose bedecked skeleton on his chest had something to do with death, much as moldy bread has something to do with science.

Another young man draped an oversized wool blazer on top of his purple t-shirt and plaid Bermuda shorts in an effort to dress up the ensemble.

Many of the young women showed up in skin bearing sun dresses and one in a short ebony colored number with a plunging neckline, proving thus again, that the little black dress isn’t suitable for every occasion.

Perhaps these attempts at fashion rebellion are an effort to keep the atmosphere light and avoid the grim reality that life does not continue forever.

That evening, we talked around the dinner table about funerals in general. One son insisted that he wanted his funeral to be held at a local dance club after which he wanted to be cremated and his ashes spread throughout the shopping mall. Another wanted a party, with all the nieces and nephews walking around with platters of appetizers and perhaps a bubble machine. My daughter insisted that all her shoes be stuck inside the coffin with her, just in case she figured out a way to take them with her.

We laughed, and changed the subject. But it got me to thinking about how short life is, and how once it’s done, well it’s done. No do overs, no second chances.

Behind me at the funeral, two young girls who were still in their teens sobbed uncontrollably. For them death was a horrible monster who had stolen their friend from their very arms. I understood how they felt. I was young once too.

For me the idea of death is not so frightening. I believe my spirit will go on and that there are many more adventures yet to discover and mysteries to behold. But I also know that life happens fast, and we need to savor every moment.

Of course by tomorrow I'll have forgotten these profound thoughts, and I'll go back to worrying about the dishes and what color to paint the living room. And that's the way it should be. We will all die sometime but we can't live worrying about that eventuality. But maybe between the hustling here and the rushing there, I'll stop and enjoy the now, at least for a moment.

1 comment:

Richard Savage said...

I love my grandkids, but please don't let them plan my funeral.

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