When my son was in high school his English teacher gave him an assignment to write a piece for the NPR show “This I Believe.” She had her students listen to segments from the show and he was so moved by one that he took the time out of his busy teenage life to share it with me. The words are there for you to read but I suggest you listen to the author tell you in her own words.
We never know when something will resonate with us. This did with me. I think about this piece every time I make the effort to go to a funeral. Her words took on special meaning when I saw the people who came to my own parents’ funerals. I had not lived in Cincinnati for close to 30 years and had graduated from college in 1980 but on that day, in 2006, three of my college professors and a few of their spouses were in the church. They had never known my mother, they came for me. They are only one example of the people who touched my heart that day. People who went out of their way and interrupted their lives to go to the funeral. And they did it all over again two years later when Dad died.
I suppose I’ve learned a lot of lessons in my life. Some of them I forget and have to learn again.
This lesson, from this NPR segment, I took to heart, and never had to relearn. Whenever possible, I go to the funeral.
And besides, who doesn’t love that unique slice of life after the funeral….that uniquely American lunch in the basement of the church, cooked by church ladies? People sharing in their grief, reminiscing about the deceased, eating comfort food of the highest caliber, and little ones running around, the youngest cousins and grandchildren reminding us that life goes on and so will we.