Funerals Are for the Living

By MARIE BUCKLEY FISH

You have probably heard this before but maybe it bears repeating. Most of us believe that the funeral or the Celebration of Life, the Wake, is for the individual whose life has ended.

I’m sure that is the motive of those who request or demand their family and friends forego services when their life is over.

They do not realize the final service is not so much for them as it is for those left behind. We don’t know if the person that we loved is in a place where they can see and appreciate the celebration of life, or if they are in a better place where they are learning the mystery of the afterlife.

We, who are left behind and grieving our loss, very often need the funeral, the family get-together, the opportunity to grieve, to share our love, and to celebrate the life of this special person whom we will see and share our lives with no more.

It is for the beginning of accepting loss, the opportunity to console one another.

Our last gift to our friends and loved ones is to allow them this time together. We don’t all receive comfort in the same way, but the loss of a loved one will more often bring family and friends together than will a wedding or graduation or joyful occasion of a new baby.

The Celebration of Life is gaining in popularity, possibly because our friends and family are growing in their acceptance and love of folks who do not share the same religious faith or life style. As our democracy becomes more democratic, we are working to become more accepting of our family and our friends.

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