I hear people say this all the time: “I can’t go to the funeral service. They make me too sad.” Or “Funerals are so uncomfortable.” Or simply “I hate funerals.”
Ar you one of these people? If so, listen to me when I say: You are not alone. OK? NO ONE LOVES FUNERALS. You are beautiful and unique, but you are not special or alone in this one aspect, specifically. No one is waking up in the mornings eager to attend a funeral service. But we all go.
We go because we wish to honor the life of someone who passed.
We go because, if it’s not your family member or friend or acquaintance, it’s someone else’s.
We go to let them know we’re there for them.
We go to remember a life that was lived.
We go to recognize the circle of life.
We go. Knowing we’ll tear up, choke up, sob.
We go to grieve.
But you are not alone.
It’s OK to Enjoy the Memories
A few months ago, my bombshell powerhouse of a grandmother was laid to rest. She was 91. The week of her death (and her funeral) was certainly an emotional one—but many of those emotions were lovely. Cousins and extended family members I hadn’t seen in well over a decade traveled several states north to pay their respects. Together, we reminisced. Together, we told stories. Together, we discovered tidbits about Grandma that not everyone knew. We cried. And you know what? We laughed. Hysterically. Readers, please understand me when I said: we had fun.
I’m not a crazy person. But yes, we had bits of fun at my grandma’s funeral. I mean, what is “fun,” really? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as an “enjoyable, amusing time.” And that’s exactly what it was. Don’t get me wrong. That whole week, throughout all the activities—clearing out her house, the viewing service, the memorial, the burial, the luncheon—I was a blubbering mess. But I had my family, and we had a helluva time.
So please. Don’t skip the funerals because you hate them. Go to the funerals because it’s important to recognize another person’s life. Their contributions to YOUR life, or to someone else’s. They meant something to someone(s) during their time here on Earth, and they’ll continue to mean something (or everything). Give them a loving and fond farewell they deserve.
An Ode to Our Bombshell Matriarch
I’ll leave you with a snippet (it’s a long snippet) of the words I spoke at Grandma’s funeral service. (That’s Grandma in the pic! Isn’t she such a fierce babe?) I think she would appreciate it:
My grandma passed away peacefully at home. She lived through more than nine fascinating decades. Life was not always easy. But man, did she live it with gusto.
Our tender-hearted matriarch had a soul of gold and a robust disposition—prone to speaking her mind at all times. Her spirit was bigger than life, as was her heart. Grandma Roberta taught us to be and to do good. Boy, did we love and learn from her. (And she’s definitely ordering Heaven’s gatekeeper around right this minute…)
Famous in our family and ’round these parts for her chicken ‘n dumplings and green beans, our favorite local celeb also used to run an entire made-to-order hospital cafeteria and could out-cook any chef. Among many life lessons, Grandma taught me how to properly poach an egg.
My heart wrenches for our sweet Grandpa Pete, who has been by Grandma’s side for nearly 30 years. They were beloved companions embodying warmth and compassion, and took care of each other every waking day. Grandma always said “I’m just glad Pete likes fat, sassy, gray-haired old ladies like me.” 💓 And we are, too.
My first grandpa passed away when I was very young, but I have such fond memories of him, as well. To me, Grandma’s little house was a giant house full of love—and sugary treats.
Grandma Roberta had 91+ years of incredible tales to tell. Including that one time she crashed a motorcycle in the preacher’s front yard. (That one didn’t come out ’til more recently.)
Grandma loved fiercely, and her home was a welcoming place to all. She loved her children, 11 grandkids, and 14 great-grandkids—and her devoted pupparoo, Snowball. She enjoyed lighthouses, pretty sweatshirts, church and choir, making blankets, and the State of Maine.
Our grandma was an inspiration, and will live in our hearts forever as the Queen of our family. The glue that binds us. The light of many lives. The world lost a sassy, beautiful goddess. She will be missed, but she’s in our hearts today and always. We love you, Grandma.