A reader sends this short NPR essay from a woman whose father taught her to “always go to the funeral,” and who learned herself why that is important when her father died. The reader who sent me that link adds:
So true. I am proud of my kids for all of the various reasons but the thing I am proudest of is that they had to suffer the loss of their father at ages 12 and 14 and before the Requiem I did not know how we would ever survive this loss. After the Requiem, I understood how people can withstand such a loss. The church was packed. I really do believe what got them through the whole awful ordeal of losing their beloved father to sudden cardiac arrest was looking at that church packed with their friends, their teachers and their clergy, their friend’s parents, and their parent’s friends and their dad’s co-workers.
Go to the funeral. It matters.
Has this ever happened to you? For me, the epiphany that changed my life, that led to my moving back home and writing a book paying tribute to my late sister and the community that walked with her and her family with cancer, occurred at my sister’s wake. Seeing those people, in the flesh, overwhelming the little church. They were there.