I took a jacket out of the closet the other day because I needed something dark for a family funeral service. Folded up in an interior pocket I found a perfectly appropriate tie for the occasion -- dark red with black highlights. Somber and yet hopeful. And also a rectangle of paper. Care to guess what it was?
You got it, It was a memorial card from an earlier funeral service.
I'm back from this week's funeral and of course it got me to thinking about mortality and youth and age and similar topics. I'm not quite old (in a few months I turn sixty and then I'll be old), but very briefly I was tempted to blog my very best advice to young people: Kids! Go to all the weddings you can now when you're young and being invited -- you'll be glad you did when you're my age and going to funerals.
But then I went to the service.
Marianne's Aunt Helen was one of ten children. She died at age 91, leaving behind two surviving sisters. So she'd outlived all of her childhood friends and most of her family. Attendance at the cemetery was sparse. But there were three generations present: Survivors of her cohort, a solid representation of my generation, and one adult from my son's generation.
The reason there was only one person from the third generation was that the majority of them are newly launched upon their lives and scattered across the continent. They don't have the freedom to blow off work for a few day in order to attend a great-aunt's funeral.
So, late in the day perhaps, I realized that what I and others of my generation are doing is showing up at all these funerals and representing the family, so that the young people who don't have the free time/ family days/time-and-money to come to all the memorial services they would like to, don't have to attend. We're here for them.
We've got your back.
I mention this not so that you younger people will feel guilty. Exactly the opposite. My being there for you makes this a more positive event. When you find yourself at my age and going to funeral after funeral, remember this post.
Remember that you're doing this for the young people. You'll feel better, knowing it.