Saturday, December 6, 2014

Funerals are stupid

I went to the funeral of my best friend today...well, sort of. I went to the calling hours because I misunderstood the information I received. I had contacted his lifelong friend who I knew would have a handle in everything, I mean they were living together and she was with him when he died. They've known each other since high school (or before). She and I talked for a quick second on Facebook before the funeral. I drove out to Tiffin from Akron, two hours, and showed up before everyone, including the family. I proceeded to hang out for about an hour and a half. People started showing up at 11a and it was just awful. It was a bunch of strangers standing around in drab clothing, holding each other and crying. And there was my friend, laid out in an open casket, in a suit I didn't even know he owned. There was a line of drab people meeting his crying family, and it was just awful.

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Why do people do this? More importantly, why are we taught that this is how we process our grief? Because that is exactly what it is; something we're taught. Laying out a dead body is morbid and macabre and it doesn't help anyone. Oh, sure, I read the reactions on Facebook about needing to touch my friend to really believe he's dead. Bullshit. It's unreasonable bullshit that we perpetuate by performing this ritual over and over. Drab clothing in an awkward house full of bad carpet and bad wallpaper. Boring music playing or worse, a mix cd of someone's favorite music played at a small volume. People standing in groups, huddled together, embracing each other and crying...while others stand around wishing they were anywhere else. We don't need to see a body to know it's dead. We have reasoning enough to understand what has happened, without needing to see a body laid out in a casket. We don't need to dress up and buy flowers that will end up thrown away (and strange memorials) and to stand around in groups, displaying our grief like it's some sort of fucked up performance art.

Or maybe we do need each other, but not in this manner.

I'm lucky my family doesn't believe in funerals or burials. The family members who have died have been cremated and disposed of and we've gathered at home and received the words of other in a private and appropriate manner. I'm not opposed to a memorial service that represents the person who has passed. I've certainly participated in dinners with talk of the deceased and sharing of memories and the laughter that should accompany a life that wasn't about our most uncomfortable clothing and a strange place.

No thank you.

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I left early. I was supposed to stay, but I couldn't. It was too disgusting and it didn't represent my friendship. I've already decided that I'm going to place a memorial geocache somewhere for him. Maybe somewhere he had never visited or maybe somewhere we loved visiting. He and I were only able to go geocaching once, but he really enjoyed it. He'd prefer something fun like that. I guess there will be another memorial service in Columbus in a few weeks, and maybe I'll go. But maybe I won't. All the people he knew, even if I knew them, we're not friends. I don't really give a shit about them and I don't have memories that we can share as a group. I don't want to spend time with them.

I guess, as usual, I'll do things how I always do; my own way. And in the case of friendships, that generally means by myself because I tend to build deep, personal relationships that don't involved a lot of other people. And that is fine with me, because as shown today, other people suck and do really stupid shit.

4 comments:

  1. I absolutely hate funerals. I've only been to two and they were so depressing. At my grandfather's funeral, I didn't even go near the casket. I didn't want to see him that way. I wanted to remember how he used to be -- warm and laughing and joking with us. I really enjoyed seeing my family at my grandmother's house though, all of us eating and telling stories about him and sharing our love. I wish that could happen instead of funerals.

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    1. YESSS!!! Funerals are just ridiculous and we need to stop making them happen. Cultural rituals are absolutely taught, so we can stop teaching this behavior for sure.

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  2. Yeah, I don't do funerals. The only one I have willingly attended was my grandfather's and it wasn't bad at all. My dad officiated the ceremony. We had a slideshow of photos and visited with each other, tried to celebrate rather than grieve.

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    1. Publicly crying and huddling and behaving in a really melodramatic way is just uncalled for. Like, I can't think of one person with whom I'm friends who thinks a good time is standing around, crying and just going on and on about whatever. So if we would never do that together in real life, then why do we do it when someone has died? It's so inconsistent and silly and ridiculous.

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