For the past two years I’ve been to four funerals. I hope I don’t have to attend any more anytime soon. The first of the four was the most devastating because I lost my aunt who helped raise me, and she also happens to be my father’s twin. Every funeral is different for obvious reasons, my aunt’s was the second largest. Now of course it doesn’t matter how big or small a funeral is because at the end of the day, someone has left us and the most important thing is honoring them in the best way.
When someone dies, it brings out a lot of emotions and devastation. Funerals can be some of the most excruciating couple of hours that ever existed. Everyone is consumed with grief and unbelief and there are tears and tissues flying in every direction–and then it’s over. All of that heartache you felt is temporarily bandaged because without realizing it a few hours before, you’re actually at a family reunion.
Some of the best reunions in the world take place at funerals. Think about it, everyone you know in life will probably be there, even people you don’t know who just happen to know you. At my aunt’s funeral I’d seen family and friends that I hadn’t seen since I was a child. It was so nice to eat (I’m a foodie) and catch up with relatives and friends. The irony of it all is kind of grim. I remember looking around the fellowship hall after my aunt’s funeral and people were taking pictures, laughing, flirting and I remember thinking, I wish she was hear to see this–but then again I know she was, probably smiling and laughing. That’s what helps at such sad occasions, knowing that the person is there watching over you and bringing everyone together.
The last funeral I attended was probably the most shocking. The woman was killed while she was seven months pregnant. I’d only known her through my husband but the few times I had seen her she was the sweetest person in the world. Ironically, when we last saw her we were at a bridal shower. We were playing one of those games where you have to compete to see who can make the best wedding dress made out of toilet paper. She probably weighed one hundred pounds soaking wet so naturally we nominated her to be the model. But I remember how much fun we all had and she laughed the whole time. We didn’t win the contest but we put so much effort into that I’m know ours was the prettiest.
One of the things that stuck out the most at her funeral was that aside from a handful of people, I didn’t know anyone. She had the largest funeral I’d ever been to. So many people came out to pay their respects and I felt hurt and angry because I couldn’t fathom a pregnant woman being killed. It made me sick. When we were leaving I remember my husband saying, “It was really nice to see all of my friends from school. Some of those guys I hadn’t seen in years.”
It brought me back to the other funerals/reunions I’d been to and it really sucks that funerals have to bring people together. If people can show up for a funeral when someone is dead, why can’t they come when someone’s alive.
As someone who has never been to a family reunion unless someone died, these past few years really hit home for me and maybe I can be the one to bring change to my family, or at least help with planning a reunion where nobody died.