Please go to funerals. Go to calling hours and wakes. Please go.
Perhaps you knew the person well, and it makes perfect sense for you to be there to remember with those who remember. If you loved that person, learned from them, or they impacted your life in any way, go.
Perhaps you never had the privilege to meet the person, but you know someone in the close family. Go.
The guest book from Robb's funeral is filled with people who knew him; people who know me, his parents, and mine; and people who never met him, but they came because they knew us, they knew our hearts were broken, and they wouldn't let us walk alone.
Perhaps you are a couple of degrees removed; a friend of someone who is grieving this deep loss of a friend. Go.
I have met many people in the last two years because they loved someone who loved my husband. I met them for the first time, and we are now forever sewn together.
Funerals and memorial services honor the people who are still living.
Go. Remember. Meet the person of their memories.
* * *
I learned today of the death of a friend.
Her son was my best friend in high school, and I might have married him if we hadn't each fallen in love with someone else. I spent many nights and weekends at their house, I 'toilet papered' their yard many times, and I've watched a million movies on their various couches. She mentored me in college, inviting me into her third grade classroom long before teaching practicums had begun. I itched to teach; she trusted me with her students.
She is gone, and today her family grieves her absence.
Were it not for 1200 miles, you can bet your bottom dollar I would be there.
I would go because I loved Joyce, and she taught me that a good mom doesn't have to cook every night, or even any night.
I would go because I loved Brian, and he will forever matter to me.
I would go because I loved their family and they influenced a season of my life. I would go because Stephanie lost her mom, Russ lost his wife, and so many grandchildren won't know her as so many of us did.
I would go.
Please go to funerals. Because somebody, somewhere, wishes she could be there.
All my love to you, Brian, Stephanie, and Russ. All my love and a million thank you's for sharing your special lady with me.
I only learned how much I agree with this advice by missing a funeral. Years later, as she was recollecting the day she said, (not unkindly) "Oh, that's right. You weren't there," and I was startled that in spite of all the people who had been there, she had noted and felt my absence. Some things you just learn the hard way, I think.
They are in my prayers!
Really appreciate this advice. Sometimes you just don't know what to do!
I have seen a hundred blogs. Read a thousand articles I never follow any one specific author after I read their articles or blogs, Ever! Until you. There is an obvious genuine heart felt reality to the way you write and the content you choose write about. I will continue to read and continue to laugh, cry, shake my head and appreciate the beauty of your written words. Thank you for stirring my heart daily and sharing your life with us.
Oh Tricia, I am so sorry for your loss.
I've said this before and I hope I've said it to you, Tricia.... Your wonderful Daddy sat next to me at my Dad's funeral when I was 15 and he was my youth leader. It's been nearly 35 years and I don't remember a lot from that time (good thing, too; lots of family drama going on) but you can bet I've never forgotten that Doyle Lott was there and he made sure I felt loved that day.
Even 1200 miles away your words are reaching right where I live. I held her hand and prayed with her last night and her eyes looked deep into my soul. Today those eyes are fixed on the face of Jesus. No more pain and suffering. Today my daughter was there when Heaven's gates opened wide and welcomed a beautiful lady who lived a life of great significance. I loved her. She loved so many in return. I will GO. You will be there too.. I know you will.
My husband heard this from a colleague several years ago, and it has become a mantra to us: "Weddings are optional; funerals are mandatory."
Almost 40 years ago I lost my 9-year-old brother, and I still remember friends from school, one girl in particular, who came to the funeral. It matters.