No One Gets Out Of Life Alive

I’ve been to two funerals in the past month.  I never met either of the deceased.

Today: An older gentleman who was in his 90s.  No church ceremony.  A grave-side service with six chairs.  His two daughters and a son sitting there.  A sprinkling of ashes and holy water on the box that held the man’s cremated remains; a prayer from the Deacon; and that was it.

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Several weeks ago, I attended the funeral of a woman who passed too early.  Horrific circumstances.  Forty-three years of age.  Full of life.  Three young kids.  Standing room only in the church.

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I’ve written about this before, but I have a thing about funerals.  I’ve felt it since I was about 12 but it is summed up best here.

You can’t come in without going out.  And I challenge anyone, anywhere, who has ever regretted going to a funeral.  No matter how painful that relationship may have been.  No matter how deep the cut we felt from those who passed.  No matter how little you may have known them or their relatives.  My philosophy is……you would feel better going.

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I heard a story on NPR a few weeks ago about a Baltimore detective who died years ago.  And he was famous for busting up gambling rings back in the early 20th century.  So much so, in fact, that he even had a line that he used when he broke through the door of the illicit establishment’s back room.  Something to the effect of “Whatever lies here, stays here!”  And with gun drawn, he would arrest the crooks and criminals and guys in dark hats and coats that you would envision in The Untouchables.

Well, when that detective died, one of the Mafioso guys he sent to prison showed up.  And he stood over the detective’s open casket just to whisper, “Whatever lies here, stays here.”

Sometimes respect and insults take the same form.

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The experience I wrote about at the beginning of this post was referring to my better half’s granddad.  She had no relationship with him for the past 20+ years.  Neither did my mother-in-law.  And I’m told it was for good reason.  Enough said.  Some wounds cut pretty deep.

But you can’t come in without going out.  And that’s why….you always go to the funeral.

Because without my wife’s granddad, there’s not my mother-in-law.  And if there’s no mother-in-law.  There’s no better half.  And if there’s no better half, there’s no better half and me.  And without us, there’s no awesome 7 and 5 year old daughters.

It may not have been the picture-perfect relationship from generation to generation, but it produced a damn fine generation.

 

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