If I tallied up all the funerals I have been to, it would be a percentage of over 99%. How many weddings have I been to? Three. Please don’t invite me to anything you don’t truly want me to attend.
Let me clarify that my own family has chosen to exclude me from every wedding, even my first cousins managed to exclude me. If ever I choose to get married, I can do so with less than ten people in attendance. My list currently stands at under ninety people, most of whom are friends of five years or longer; the kind you feel will happily stand up for you and those you will hopefully have for the remainder of your life. The person who stands by your side is ultimately far more important than the numbers, believe me.
Last Monday was a somber affair. I’d never attended a Catholic funeral before. I found is colder and unfeeling, but I suspect part of my newfound emotional detachment had a lot to do with how I viewed it. It’s not about religion, so much as it is about the state of a funeral while we are still actively dealing with Covid.
I know a Jewish funeral backward and forward. I can probably recite it by rote. If you have a good Rabbi, there is a very emotional, spiritual feeling in the air. Even my non-religious/spiritual friends have told me they feel like Jewish funerals are more involved/in touch. In essence, it makes sense I’d feel more connected there.
I remember my father’s funeral very clearly because I gave the eulogy. We are incredibly lucky to have an amazing Rabbi who deeply cares for our family, so even now, over a decade later, speaking to him is heartwarming. He will always leave you with a piece of wisdom, and I never forget his sparks or good deeds. He’s an innately good person. Prior to meeting him, I had never been able to connect with any man/woman of G-d. I found all of them so clinical and uncaring. He is the exception, not the rule.
Funerals are something I’m used to. I shouldn’t be, but I am. I get invited to more of them than any other thing in this world. While that is a strange thing to be invited to, I don’t feel like paying your respects is something you get invited to, or not. It’s something you do. Hopefully for the right reasons.
As the funeral was winding down, the “host” gave me a hug and told me I was a good person. I was taken aback by that statement. I wish more people said positive things through their pain, as opposed to those who shut everyone out. Yet, I did not feel the need to thank anyone who came to my father’s funeral or my mother’s. For me, showing up (if you are able) is a sign of respect. It is not your good deed.
Perhaps I am alone in these thoughts. Perhaps not. But unlike many, I try to show up and be present. I actually try harder than most. Even if it means being the only person who speaks and is fully present.
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