Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Yesterday was my first funeral. I'm lucky, some would say. It has caused me to reflect quite a bit on death and how we deal with it. I was surprised to learn that they have a room for the family off to the side so they can cry freely. That really struck me. Why should the family who loved the person the most hide away? As I heard more people apologize for their tears throughout the day I concluded the tradition must have started out of our shame in tears. For some reason, our society got the idea that tears are a sign of weakness. I disagree and not just because I cry easily. During college, one of my mentors taught me a lot about grieving and I have come to believe that tears are an important part of the process. For those times when tears are a part of weakness, why do we try to pretend we are something we are not? In dealing with death, there is an element of weakness. So I say we should do away with those back rooms. Let there be tears (and laughter) as we deal with our losses. Another thing that struck me was a few comments about protecting children from funerals. My uncle died when I was four and I did not attend his funeral. I wish I had. I think children need to see all seasons of life and that they can handle a great deal more than most adults give them credit for. Not only that, I think by not allowing children to attend these key ceremonies we perpetuate our society's fear of death. I think if I have to attend a funeral for a close loved one while my children are young, I might ask a close friend to come to the funeral with me to watch over my children so I can grieve freely, but they can still witness this important part of life.