Once, a long time ago I received some business and life advice. Even though this is a business focused blog, I won’t bore you with the business advice. What I want to share with you is the life advice. It’s a simple one. Always go to the funeral.
Always go to the funeral.
Going to the funeral is not always easy. Things are always pressing on your time, traveling at short notice is always expensive, the dead are already dead and the demands of living are always pressing. Nevertheless, as much as you can, always go.
You see, there is something about paying your respects to the dead. It’s a social contract we sign with our friends, family, colleagues, and more. It’s not always easy to keep, and you really do not incur a lot of cost if you cannot make it because people understand. It’s not always planned out ahead, and life is busy. But people do remember those who made it. The family remembers. Your other friends remember. You all grieve together, and the reality of death is emphasized to you all, so that when you leave, you reaffirm life, you reaffirm friendships. You live a little more intentionally.
And you do what I consider very important psychologically, you see it fully and become fully aware of the fact that your loved one is gone. You’re grounded by that realization. You don’t get to retreat into denial or a kind of magical thinking that the person is not really dead. You resolve that physically. And that helps you make peace with it.
I have missed some funerals. Some people close to me who for one reason or another, I simply could not be there. Recently, I lost a friend, mentee and colleague from college, Obadiah. I almost did not make it due to my schedule being full, and his funeral being on the other end of the country from where I was. However, at the last minute my schedule opened up and I booked the last ticket of the day out of San Francisco to make it there.
I was glad I did, and I left that day at peace with my grief and stronger in the bonds I shared with everyone else who came. My living is more conscious because of it.
So take this life lesson from me today. If you can, Always go to the funeral.
God bless the dead.