Memorial Services and Stories
The death of my wife’s 89-year-old aunt on the other side of the state from where we live, has brought us into the company of people we mostly see at memorial services and funerals. In the midst of mourning, there are so many stories to share. Some get swapped during the visitation, others get told from the pulpit during the memorial service or funeral, and others get shared on the front steps of the church. If there’s a wake or a dinner, one hears even more stories.
We’re a storytelling people, I think, and it seems sad to wait until the end of a life to share some of the best stories we have. Not that all of us have a salable tell-all memoir in us or even a personal book of memories to share with our children and grandchildren. Family reunions, of course, are good storytelling venues under much happier circumstances than a people trying to sum up a person’s life just after they died.
When I was young, I wasn’t always of a mind to sit still and hear a dozen stories from my grandparents, aunts and uncles. I heard a lot, but now I wish I’d heard more. Our faster-paced lifestyle (complete with texting and the Internet) seems to intrude on family times. A picnic and a story (with cell phones turned off) is probably a rarity for some families. And that’s too bad. We have a lot we could share with those we love that we never get around to sharing. Then it’s left to the preacher after we’ve left the world and moved on to new dimensions.
I have no solutions to our preoccupation with so many trivial things when talking to each other in person without outside distractions would seem to be one of the most important things we could be doing.
If often takes funeral to remind me of that.