Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Funerals and Personal Hopes

Art of the Funeral

A funeral is a collaborative work of performance and art. The funeral is a time for family and friends to support one another, and share intimate memories. A misconception is that a funeral is solely for those who are religious. It is as much a moment of reflection as it is a series of events providing tasks and activities to undertake as an expression of feelings.


Weeping for Ourselves

It is important to note that as much as we grieve for our dead, attending a funeral is just as much about weeping for ourselves. Roussell, describing anticipatory grief writes, “some people have feelings of guilt and anxiety over having too little time to settle issues and put things in order for their loved ones.”1 For others, attending a funeral establishes emotional stability and security through the unspoken promise of reciprocation. 

What do you hope people will remember about you after you die
 

Supporting One Another

 

Funerals offered communities the chance to support to one another. For example, in a scene from the French motion picture “Amelie,” the lead character daydreams about her own funeral. She watches the procession on television and weeps at the sight of people mourning her death. We can identify with this girl. We are at center of our own universe and therefore secretly wish for others to mourn our own deaths. The funeral rite gives us the opportunity to act for others as we would wish them to act for us. When we grieve for others, we subconsciously grieve for ourselves. 

We want our presence to be missed, our deaths to be mourned, and for a death to have meaning. It explains why we host lavish funerals and grand memorials. We yearn to be remembered. Our lives must have had held some meaning. Attending a funeral reminds us that we will someday merit the same honor, respect, and display of affection. To not hold a funeral is not to observe this sacred pact. 

What do you hope people will remember about you after you die
Do you have special plans or hopes for your own funeral? 

¹ Roussell, J.O. (1999). Dealing with Grief: Theirs & Ours. Staten Island, NY: Alba House.

 

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