Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good Things About Funerals

I can think of two very good things about funerals:


Growing up our family was not what you'd call close. We did not do gift exchanges at Christmas with our relatives and the extent of our visiting relatives was our grandmothers and the aunts who lived with them. That was pretty much the only contact we had with our extended family. Once in awhile, I think a total of 3 or 4 times, we visited our cousins in Mansfield (which was about an hour's drive). I remember one party we went to at another cousin's house. Other than that, the only cousin I saw on a semi-regular basis was Carol because she's a hairdresser so I went to her for haircuts and perms. When an uncle or aunt died, that's when our whole family would get together. It was always awkward because I never would know who certain people were that I should know.

When my mom died my foster brother, John, and one foster sister, Pam, didn't even come to her funeral. I think it was because they didn't know about it in time because we had no idea where they were, no phone or address for them. Since then though, we did get in touch. When my dad died, it was the first time in years that I saw Pam and John and first met John's family. That was a really good thing. It was such a momentous occasion that Michelle's, daughter even took a picture of us all together--one with our spouses and one with just us. (Michelle is my other foster sister.)


It was actually fun seeing some old friends again who came to the funeral home to console me and pay their respects. My best friend that I grew up with came! We exchange Christmas greetings but I've only been to her house once since we've been married. I mention her in "My Funny Dad, Harry" so I told her about the book I wrote and she bought it and passed it along for her sister to read as well. It was also great seeing friends from my old church again.

I recently attended viewing hours for the father of brothers I had in the youth group from years ago. It was wonderful seeing them again and they were very surprised to see me since we hadn't been in touch at all for such a long time. They both live nearby and we exchanged email addresses so we can keep in touch now.

I think this aspect of funerals is a glimpse of what heaven will be like. It'll be one huge happy reunion with our loved ones who have gone on ahead and people we've known throughout our lives who we seldom see. I have lots of questions about this such as: "Since we get new heavenly bodies, how will we recognize each other?" "What about age--will we be the age we were when we died, or be younger or older?" At any rate, I really look forward to seeing my parents again!

John 11:25-27 says:
25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

27"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ,[b] the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

I John 5:9-12 says:
9We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

It is so comforting to know Jesus and have the assurance of being re-united with our loved ones again.


Here is a picture of my cat, Spunky Doodle (the one I got as a kitten from dad's), enjoying the flowers we brought home from my dad's funeral.


Jude said...

I have been to so many funerals in my lifetime and years ago I said I'd never go to another one, but I find that I'm a liar and I've been to several since only because the Family needed me to be there. I don't mind the dead and the dying part, but I have an extremely hard time comforting the living because they don't understand.

Karen Zemek, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

Just your being there is a comfort to the living and listening to them talk about the dead person helps.

Kathy said...

I have a hard time with funerals...but the aspect of family reunion does make it easier to bear.

Page McManus said...

Funerals can be a good thing. When my dad died, we celebrated his life more than we mourned his death. Thanks for such a thoughtful post. I know it helped a lot of people.

I've tagged you with a Bookworm meme - 'hope you don't mind. The Road I'm Traveling It would be neat to hear about one of Harry's books.


Cats said...

It's always nice when friends and family together, even if it's a sad occasion. Company helps ease the pain of sorrow. Spunky Doodle looks very cute - even though it's hidden behind the pretty flowers!

Karen Zemek, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

Kathy--I don't think anyone really likes funerals, but if we have the assurance of seeing our loved ones again, it does make it easier.

Page--This is a different kind of meme. I will be happy to participate in it.

Cats--Spunky enjoyed chewing on the leaves very much. She was always up on the table by them.

Anonymous said...

When I hear that someone has passed, I sort of dread going to the mortuary and seeing the sadness of the family, but once there it's usually pretty comforting too - it's sort of funny how funerals are so much a family reunion, and soon you find yourself forgetting your sorrow and enjoying being around all your family you haven't seen in so long.

liza said...

bringing the family closer is really a good thing and enemies become friends again, it's just so sad that someone has to die first before it happens.

Mommy said...

I don't like to go...don't think anyone does really. I'm always glad, though, that I've attended, especially when there aren't many people in attendance. I enjoyed your post.

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

It is hard to go but usually I'm glad I did, especially when there aren't many there. I just remember how much I appreciated the people who came to the visiting hours for my parents. It really does mean a lot to support people when they are grieving.

tashabud said...

Hi Karen,
I agree with you that Funerals seem to bring families together. So sad, but true. When my mother-in-law died, it was the first time that my children and I had met my husband's one aunt and his cousins. We've already been married for twenty years at that point.

That was good your foster siblings were able to get together with you.

Have a happy Thursday.


Anonymous said...

It's wonderful of you to find a positive.

If I may, The Father also asks us to give thanks in ALL things. I interpret that to include funerals, taxes and flat tires :) Seriously.

I try not to pray those out loud though. I'm kind of a smart aleck and I wouldn't want anyone thinking that I'd laugh/make fun of that! :)

Great work!

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

Tashabud: Nice to know we're not the only family that meets new family members at funerals. I was very glad that my foster sisters and brother all showed up for it.

Daily Spirit online: Thanks for taking the time to comment. You point out a very good verse that I do try to practice, especially when things go wrong or bad things happen. It helps so much t focus on Jesus and remember our blessings in hard times.

Amy W said...

Your post about funerals caught my eye since I just attended one yesterday. It wasn't a family member, but a good friend. His family is Catholic, but everything about his death felt so hopeless. I've been praying for the family for many years now. I had to write my Ode to Robert last night.

It's great to meet you. Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!! I'll be back.

"My Funny Dad, Harry" Book Giveaway

Congratulations to all the winners of the giveaway for "My Funny Dad, Harry" at Red Pine Mountain. I am so happy that four of my regular commenters won! Read what Tim thought of it at Everyday Living.