Attending a funeral is personal and emotional and in the last few years I have attended more funerals than I would like to. Some loved family members, my parents, friends and others as a support to bereaving friends. Some were tragedies, some from illnesses that consumed and some just the end of a life well lived.
Every one has been different and yet all sending out similar messages! In my view, funerals are not only opportunities to support the bereaved and honour the dead, they are also an opportunity for personal, spiritual, and life reflection. I almost always leave feeling inspired to apply or change something in my own life.
Funerals are about life. Death calls friends and family together, the event focuses on the life of the deceased. Yes, we mourn and yes, we express grief but we mourn and we grieve because we remember them in life and we remember all the good it held.
I love listening to the stories of these people’s lives and ponder how much these dearly departed must have meant to the people gathered to remember them. Sometimes we discover how little we knew them and this can be a reality check about the power of our connections in life and the time we spend really getting to know people.
Some key things I have learnt are:
We all come and go.
This is a constant thing in life and at times depending on where we are in our cycle of life we may experience more people going then coming. The true reality of this is that we should enjoy all of our connections, family, friends and key connections because in reality we never know when it is their time to move on.
Keep your life in perspective!
Funerals are a rare chance to reflect on what is truly important in life. It’s a chance to reflect on how inconsequential most frustrations and irritations actually are. The stresses and strains of work become irrelevant and no one ever said on their death bed they wished they had spent more time at work, spent more time stressing over daily life.
The unity and support of family and friends are essential.
It’s easy to make excuses as to why you don’t need or can’t go and using work commitments as a reason not to attend a funeral is a bizarre and sad inversion of values.
In times of grief, the emotional burden becomes bearable when there are available family and friends offering assistance. It has huge value to those who need your support – GO and be present and spend the time to learn, reflect, support and connect.
And remember it isn’t just on the day but the weeks, months and years afterwards when comfort and check ins are still important.
You can’t take your “Stuff” with you.
Obsessing about the best clothes, brands and having the latest on trend items becomes totally irrelevant once you have gone. In fact, no cares at your funeral. They just want to tell heartfelt, fun stories about who you were, what you did, celebrate your connections and that’s far more important than material things.
You will never know when your time is up.
Death is certain. It will come to all of us. Questions I have asked myself: What will I be remembered for, what stories will be told, what is my legacy and what are the memories I leave behind for them to smile, laugh and remember me fondly.
A funeral gives you a subtle reminder that you will never know when your time is up. Better LIVE your life to the fullest and not just exist!
Showing emotion is OK!
There is often a staunchness, that the appearance of emotional grief and sadness somehow portrays weakness. It’s important showing sadness when sadness abounds. Take tissues and go with it!
Whatever you did in your lifetime, it will come back to you even after death.
Overall, let us all make an effort not to take family and friends for granted. It’s so easy to say ” I ‘m too busy” and then create a lingering regret in the future that is difficult to live with.
Let’s enjoy while we still have time. It takes courage to accept that you create your life experience!