June 30, 2014

Funeral Brings Family and Friends Together

The first ever funeral I attended was like 34 years ago. It was the funeral of my grandmother (my father's mom). I don't want to sound insensitive or morbid, but instead of feeling sad for the loss of Lola Inang, it was actually a nice feeling seeing all my uncles, aunts, cousins, and relatives up to the third or even fourth degree. Snacks, all sorts noodles and breads, unlimited coffee and juices were served. I actually had fun listening to old folks as they recounted their childhood.  Please don't get me wrong, I was just 6 years old then.

It was a different story when my mom passed away in 1993. My father, siblings and I were all very sad, as well as tired attending to all the people who came to console with us.  But it was also a great consolation hearing people say all the good things about Mama.  

When my father-in-law passed away in 2002, I just learned that I was pregnant. John and I were very sad because Papa didn't get to see the twins. What's nice about Papa's funeral was seeing my sisters-in-law, Ate Peth and Ate Manet, and their respective families, who came all the way from the U.S. 

Just last week, my husband's uncle passed away. This week, my Aunt Lita passed away.  It's always sad to say goodbye to people we love but mortality is inevitable. 

Although funerals arouses sorrow and despair, it is also a time when people come together to grieve and laugh at the same time. Funeral is a complicated social celebration. In the Philippines, funerals become a venue for family reunion.

John Green was right when he said in his book (The Fault in Our Stars), “Funerals, I had decided, are for the living.” because funeral brings family and friends together. Everyone stop being busy for the moment to take time and pay respect to the dearly departed, as well as to catch up with people we love  and whom we haven't seen for the longest time.

At Uncle Romy's wake
At Uncle Tito's wake
At Ate Beb's wake

At Aunt Lita's wake

“All death reminds us that nothing is promised, only that life was worth it.” 
― Shannon L. Alder

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