Always go to the funeral

By Nancy Black

Am I the only one who gets mad at funerals? Forgive my honesty, but it really ticks me off when a priest, minister or holy leader starts off a funeral or memorial service by saying, “I didn’t know [name of dead person] personally, but I read in his obituary that he was a great man,” and then proceeds to talk about the deceased for way too long.

Really? If you didn’t know the guy, or girl, who died, don’t try to talk about him or her for more than 10 minutes to a group of people mourning them. 

It is ridiculous. Say a few comforting words about life and death and memories and then hand the mic over to family and friends who can truly memorialize the life of the person who has left this earth.

Somewhere in my life, someone told me to “Always go to the funeral.” The family of the deceased should be able to turn around and see faces of people they don’t know, knowing that somehow their loved one touched that person’s life in some positive way. It’s just good karma.

Unfortunately, I have had a number of people I know die recently. But, fortunately, I was able to share my grief with the families of those I knew, and it truly is a healing process — grieving with others.

I find it fascinating to learn about different religions or beliefs and their unique way of handling and mourning the dead. 

During my religious studies at college, I wrote a paper about a Tibetan tourist who died on the trek and had to be cremated on the mountain top. 

It was forbidden to remove the dead body from the country. And the body had to be burned quickly — no time to wait for family to be notified and fly in for the funeral pyre. But the entire process of preparing and disposing of the body was most reverent and sacred, though it was not what our Western civilization is accustomed to.

I have saved my children and loved ones time and money by having specific instructions in place as to what to do when I die: donate any of my organs they can, cremate me, hold a gathering of people who liked me with lots of yummy food and great tunes (no organ music) and, please, no strangers pretending they knew me. 

Oh, and if I had a tombstone what would I put on it?