Funerals are not for the dead.
I suppose so far I should count myself lucky, that at over 50 years of age I have had to attend relatively few funerals in my lifetime. I guess the number will increase, and the frequency become closer together, the older I get.
Some of the funerals I attended through a sense of duty, and some because I had cared for the person. And, some I want to attend or should have been at, I could not be there for. For two in particular this happened when I wanted to attend; one in my childhood and one recently.
The one in my childhood that I was not at, was my Grandparents funeral. My parents thought that my brother and I were too young to attend a funeral. While they no doubt took that decision with the best of intention, I think they were wrong not to let us go. Of course that is much easier to know with hindsight.
I think that it was because I was not allowed at Granny and Grampa’s funeral (they died together in a car accident) that it took me so long to say goodbye, and let them go. They might have been at peace but I did not have the opportunity to make my peace with them.
On the recent occasion I was not at the funeral it was because the deceased was Dutch and simply died in another country and I could not arrange travel to attend the funeral. Even as I write this a month after her death, I still have not really said goodbye properly to my friend.
She might have moved on to the next life (we both believe in another life) but I am still having a little trouble moving on in this one. Although I will probably never know for sure, I think in both cases it was because I was not at the funeral that It took me so long to say goodbye.
Funerals are to help the living say goodbye to the dead, to come to terms with their loss and grief. They are an opportunity to say to oneself, about the deceased, that is enough for now. I will not forget you but I still have a life to live here and now.
“We believe in a life after this life so you must not be
sad. I going home and it is good” – To me by a friend.