A Matter of Life and Death?

(2nd June 2012)
Is one supposed to enjoy a funeral? Probably not, but it is possible to enjoy, or at least gain comfort from, the support of friends.

A close friend died recently and I attended his funeral. To attend I undertook a long and quite difficult journey. It has cost me money that I would rather not have spent. Before setting out I grudged the time I was going to spend. Now the trip is nearly over (I set out to return tomorrow), I have changed my mind. I am glad that I came. The money and the time have been worth it.

Why do I think that the trip has been worth it? My friend Dave died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was middle aged. A middle aged man. Unusually, he was not overweight, and while many people would have criticised him for having an unhealthy lifestyle, nobody thought that he was ill. I found that I was quite shocked by his death. The funeral was attended by a large number of people. Dave was not a religious man, so the service was held at the local crematorium. The crematorium chapel was full to capacity and a large number of people were left outside. There “wake” was held at the pub where Dave drank almost every evening. I have not seen the place so busy for many years. I felt people supporting one-another. I hope Dave’s family felt the same.

Community. What is a community? I don’t know, but I felt it at the funeral service and at the pub afterwards. Not something it is easy to define, but something which is shared together, something which people feel together. I suppose, by definition, it must be something “communal”. Whatever it is, having encountered it, I feel it is something good.

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