Funerals and Weddings…
Back in the day (and currently for some people), we used to have family reunions. A chance for the extended fam to get together and talk about the good days, play some horseshoes, and eat some hotdogs and potato salad. That trend is starting to fade.
Nowadays we’re all too busy with our own shit to bother with a get-together at some pavilion in a state park somewhere. We go about our little sheltered lives in our own little pods of reality, texting and facebooking, no longer constrained by geography. But it comes at a price.
Funerals used to be these things where everyone got together and mourned the loss of a loved one. Reverent, sincere, people silently walked around the funeral home and paid their respects to the other family members still breathing. Older members of the family were there as pillars to some as-yet-realized stability or continuity.
Today, they are our new reunions. We see people we haven’t seen in person in years. We catch up, talk about the good days, marvel at how quickly the little ones are growing, hug a little longer than normal, and exchange current contact info. But the old ones there see it as irreverent, ungodly.
My grandmother is particularly disgusted with the current state of funerals. She says that people are too loud, too happy. But she’s really stumbled onto something. It seems to me that we need that community, that family. And when there are no more summer picnics, no more volleyball or badminton tournaments, we have to fill that void somehow. We need those connections to be strong, stable.
The same could be said for weddings.
I’ve seen weddings from when I was a kid – these big, weighty dissertation-esque rants about the powerful god blessing the union and whatnot. But now they’ve begun to get shorter and shorter, more personalized. The reception, while it’s always been a party, now seem to be the focal point for many of the younger couples that are getting married. Fried pickles? Check. Delicious desserts? Check. Ample room for these two families to merge? Check.
It’s a beautiful thing to witness. And it gives me hope for the future. We need more weddings and funerals to keep our families together and changing. We need those moments where we celebrate a life lived or lives merging. We need each other. Because no matter how much we feel like it, we are not alone.