On Funerals

      I attended my first open casket funeral today. I think it takes courage to plan and participate in an open casket funeral–it requires you to look on the deceased honestly, openly; to recognize the permanence of such an event, and to contemplate your own mortality.
      At the same time, the occasion felt somewhat surreal. When my grandfather passed away, I remember my grandmother mutely accepting the folded flag for his military service, and how she didn’t cry during the funeral. She was a rock for the family at that moment, and I truly admired her strength. We later watched with her as my grandfather was lowered slowly into the ground, and at that moment the permanence of his death really set in for me.
In the years following, I’ve come to visit his grave somewhat consistently, and I find the visits and conversations held there to be immensely therapeutic. (Maybe I shouldn’t say conversations–they’re largely me updating him on my life, and how Grandma still misses him. She may not have cried at the funeral, but she still gets teary-eyed at the mention of him). I’ve gone from weeping at the sight of his grave to being able to come to the site with confidence, fondness, and love for the memory of a good man.
       I hope for the same for the person whose memory we honored today, especially as it was someone integral in the life of my husband. I am sure that we will visit his gravesite and share with him the events of our lives as they occur. It will not be easy–I’m sure we’ll be welling up for some time at the approach, but that’s all right. As the officiant at the funeral said, these are times that we “move through” and emerge stronger afterward. These people can never be replaced, and I acknowledge that while their memories live on in our minds and hearts, their unique selves have left this plane of existence. The world is a poorer place without them, and as our officiant suggested, sharing their memories with others helps them to live on.
      At the same time, sorrow encourages connections. One of the deceased’s relatives today has already found me on Facebook, and I hope to get to know that part of the family better. Even in this time of sadness, we can still find ways of gathering joy, remembering the best moments, and cherishing all that we have.


About bethmf

Writer, dancer, literature buff, lover of music, discoverer of new places, devotee of joy and random connections. Grateful to be here and trying to earn a space.
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3 Responses to On Funerals

  1. bushra81 says:

    Sorry for your loss Beth 😦 I hope you and Jarrod are okay.

  2. Sorry to hear about your recent loss Beth. These type of things are not easy. I like what you wrote when you said “these are times that we ‘move through’ and emerge stronger afterward. Thats an incredible choice a person can have in there life, is to become stronger, not just for self, but for others as well.

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