A Few Passing Thoughts
My grandpa passed away recently so Jason and I traveled to a remote section of the South for his funeral. This experience made me contemplate the power of such rituals. Perhaps it is because the death of a loved one provides a somber, and often crushing, reminder of life’s fleeting treasures that these occurrences are able to unite families in a way that few other occasions can.
If I had lived a couple hundred years ago, I would have made a great professional mourner. Why, you ask? Because at funerals I am almost always that person who loses it. You know, the one sobbing so hard their chin twitches and their eyes swell up like caterpillars. My closeness to the deceased is irrelevant… it’s a little awkward when I’m crying more than the kids, spouse, or parents. My dad has always said it’s because I have a tender heart but you might say I’m a wimp, and rightly so. Nonetheless, even for those that don’t dehydrate as much as me at these services, funerals are never fun. Yet, they have a unique might.
Funerals bring families together. You will connect with relatives you never knew you had and reunite with ones you haven’t seen in decades. Since we live so far away, we met a lot of new faces at my grandpa’s service.
Another incredible thing about funerals is the support network they spontaneously create. A common purpose is suddenly formed that spans generations and locations. Work, school, and social responsibilities instantly become comparatively insignificant. My master’s program made attending my grandpa’s funeral quite difficult but there was no way I was going to miss it. It wasn’t a question of if Jason and I could make it work but of how we would make it work. My parents and a few of my siblings assembled despite the distance and the difference it made to my grandma was remarkable. The moment my parents walked through her door her entire demeanor changed; it was as if their strength literally began holding her up.
The last notable thing about funerals is the goodbyes they afford. Although these services may seem small compared to the people they honor, they often provide a solid sense of closure.
Goodbye, Grandpa. I am so grateful for the countless ways your jolly spirit positively impacted my life. I’ll love you forever!