Now I’m the first to say I don’t know the answers and am certainly no font of wisdom, but there is one thing I do know. Always go to the funeral. Always. If it’s your friend’s grandmother, go. If it’s your great aunt who you hardly knew, go. If it’s a childhood friend, go.
Funerals are quite possibly one of the most devastating and beautiful events we can participate in. It’s the sadness of a spirit and life lost, but also a celebration of all the lives that person touched. The past eight months have been some of the most difficult I’ve had. Coping with the loss of a peer, a loved one, really took me down with full force. I’ve written about it at length here; writing so much has helped ease the pain. What really helped me most was showing up & being present for his memorial. Hugging his parents close, seeing old photos of us, sharing memories with friends.
I had the sad opportunity to attend a memorial service for a dear friend’s mother this past weekend. She died too young with so much fight in her–she embodied spunk. While I was not close to her, I love her son. He’s been a true friend for years. He’s shown up for me for all those years, and these times are when you need everyone you know to simply show up. Whether you send a card, give a hug, or lend an ear–it matters so much.
It’s not always easy to put on the black dress, grab the Kleenex, and go to the church or service, but it’s what’s right. My mom taught me this when I was in seventh grade and my friend’s grandmother passed away. She told me that I needed to go; that it mattered beyond what my 12 year old mind would imagine.
While I’ve been lucky enough to never have to suffer the loss of an immediate family member, that means I can’t know the difficulty that would accompany those moments. What I do know is that I want to be surrounded by love, support, and compassion.