I write with a bit of a heavy heart, on behalf of the losses of people I don’t even know. I drove by a local funeral home tonight that was so busy there had to a police presence on the road to keep traffic moving in and out.
Two wakes there tonight—one for a 21 year old woman and another for a 3 year old boy, both of whom died from tragic accidents. I didn’t know either of them but that didn’t stop an onslaught of tears.
I’ve mentioned this before, but tonight it hit home how much it bears repeating. At times like this, nobody can stomach the words fun or creative, what I’m usually pushing for goodbye ceremonies. It feels like a preposterous notion—shameful, even. Almost to the point of making me rethink my whole mission of better funerals.
Because really— death can sometimes be the worst, most horrible, painful, sucky, life-alteringly awful, there-are-no-words loathsome, heartbreaking occurrences.
We do what we can to survive the funeral without losing our minds. That is accomplishment enough.
Yet I still want to encourage everyone everywhere to hold the possibility that at point in the future, honoring the person who’s passed in a manner fitting their personality, would be more healing than they might imagine. That their grief might be assuaged by keeping that person’s spirit alive in a vibrant, and life-filled way. Full of heart. Full of passion. CHOCK FULL TO THE BRIM of the personality of their beloved.
We’re all going to die. That is not the tragedy. Every single one of us will be following those who have departed at a young age. Remembering, honoring, and insisting on celebrating the beautiful, if short, life that we were fortunate to have, is the whole point here.
And beyond the healing power of this for us as the survivors, there is the deserving on the part of the departed. 3 years, 21 years, 50 years… whatever the length of time, we all leave behind a hole that can’t be filled. We all deserve a huge, heartfelt, no-holds-barred, life- and joy-filled “Thank You” for our life.
So wait as long long as you need to. Maybe it’ll be on the anniversary, maybe it’ll be five years later; there is no hurry. But there is no statute of limitations on celebrating a life. Just don’t allow suffocating sadness to be the only way you said goodbye.
Death and Life are inseparable. Even in death, celebrate the beauty and life of that person.