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Lessons Learned From a Funeral

Mixed Emotions
Mixed Emotions

I had this entire week mapped out in exact details as to what I was going to do!  Then it happened, I get a phone call telling me that an old friend’s dad had pasted away, and the calling hours was tonight!

Event though I haven’t seen my friend or his parents for years, I felt obligated to drive down and pay my respects…

Now I haven’t seen my old friend or his parents for a good many years!  I also haven’t seen any of my neighbors from the old neighborhood for years and years either!

So why this funeral turned into mixed emotions for me was because while standing in the long line, past friends and their parents keep stopping and talking to me all the way up to where the morning family were at the casket.  Heck, even my mourning friend broke rank and come over from the casket to shake my hand, and at that point I wasn’t even close to the casket.  We haven’t seen each other so long it was almost pleasant for the both of us.

While I was in line, I felt so sad for my friend’s mother and sister, especially  his mom.  But at the same time, so many people greeted me and talked with me, that I almost felt disrespectful towards the grieving family.  At times, the my odd neighborhood friends and I were almost laughing and having a good time catching up.  It was very confusing to say the least.

During the drive down, I was listening to “The Snowball” a biography about Warren Buffett (I only made it half way through the book in the past).  And of course, being financial sort of guy, I calculated how much the trip would cost me (I’ve done this before with trips to my parent’s house).  The entire trip cost me $20, but that wasn’t important (mostly), isn’t it funny that I calculated in my head while driving down?  I guess it’s now part of my being…

Last year, I would have tried to get out of this.  I had plenty of excuses, like I didn’t find out until it was too late (this is true to a degree, I rushed down and was their 1 hour after the funeral started!)  Or that I had to work that night…  Luckily, my New Year’s Resolution is be a better me (see my post called “Becoming Super?“), so I traveled down and did the right thing!

This funeral was a reminder to make the most of the journey through life, and to remember to visit old friends and their parents occasionally, because some day, sadly they will be gone.

-MR

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30 Responses to Lessons Learned From a Funeral

    • Well said 🙂

      I wasn’t sure what the turnout was going to be like, so I was very happy it was such a large group with many of the neighbors.

  1. I am glad you went MR. Funerals are hard, and very sad, but people need each other during such difficult times. I am sure it meant a ton to your friend and neighbors that you took the time to pay your respects.

    I love the picture with the caption ‘mixed emotions’. It is perfect.

    • I don’t follow Suzy Orman’s advice directly, but I do agree with her very important message: “People First”.

      On that caption, thanks. I thought it fit the bill, and it’s an awesome picture…

  2. Yes, it is a confusing time. My father in law died unexpectedly just a few months before my husband and I got married.

    People who we haven’t seen for a while would first be happy to see us and congratulate our engagement and then realize why they were there and then get somber again. They wanted to be happy for us, but felt weird about expressing it during a wake.

    It’s definitely a good reminder that you should see people that mean something to you more than just at weddings and funerals.

    • Wow, and I thought I had mixed feeling, that must have been an emotional roller coaster!

      With my friend it seems like either I’m too busy or he’s to busy. Plus we are over an hour away from each other…

  3. You did the right thing. I can understand you calculating the trip cost! Brain does funny things when you are having mixed emotions!

    The first thing that went through my head after being involved in a car crash (long time back) was – ‘Darn, I just took the car for a car wash yesterday!’.

    • Thanks, I actually felt a bit bad after getting up there, because I was enjoying seeing so many old friends.

      Sorry to hear about the car crash, but I agree it funny what runs throught our brain in the flash of a second.

    • I didn’t mind spending the invisible costs (funny how we don’t consider gas cost in such events). My part was small, but hopefully helped in some way…

  4. ….sorry, but you did NOT do the “right thing”.

    You merely gave in to peer pressure.

    Actions speak much louder than words.

    If you had genuinely wanted to remain close to your old friend & his parents… you would have done so without a second thought.

    We all have many acquaintances, old school chums, co-workers, relatives, etc. — but we don’t have the time or genuine interest to be close to them over the years. That’s life, and there’s nothing to feel guilty about. Close friends are rare.

    It’s silly and hypocritical IMO to drag oneself to the funeral of someone one has not bothered to see or even telephone for years. But peer pressure & guilt are strong for some reason.

    • I admit it was a close call for me, but mainly because I had to work that night. Unless you and your friends have had a falling out, I think it’s nice to wish the grieving family some support. Even if it has been a long time since the last visit.

    • Yeah, it was a wake-up call of sorts!

      I still live far enough and we have a busy life with kids, but I’m sure I will make a bit more of an effort.

  5. It must be something in the air. My good friend’s close nephew died last week and I accompanied her to Dallas yesterday for the funeral since she was going to go alone. Overall, it was 9 hours of driving and 4 hours of family stuff…I was drained but am glad I was able to do something that helped. Really sad vacation day though.

    • You are truly a great and nice person. I don’t know many that would do that for a friend, no matter how close they are….

      I grew up with my friend, and both he and his family are nice people. Most of my neighbors were there, but they live much closer than I do.

  6. I guess this trip also reminds everyone of us that money is not everything since you don’t carry any of it with you when one passes away.

    I am glad you made it to the funeral, your friend surely appreciates your gesture.

  7. Having gone through my own father-in-law’s funeral just this past April, this post really hit home. I just wanted to say that in response to you feeling some guilt about the laughter, I know that I relished any person who could bring a smile to my husband’s face. After the funeral, it was nice to have those happy times to discuss, not just the sad reality of the situation. One always has to smile and remember that death is another part of life. I guess. <:-}