Has anyone else other than me noticed that there are frightening parallels between funerals and weddings?
(If you haven’t noticed this, you may think that my love of wine has finally burned off my last, useful brain cells. But stick with me.)
Now, this isn’t meant to be a punchline. I don’t mean that your wedding was the “death” of your single life or anything else my husband would be laughing about right now. I just mean that these two events are very closely related. Let’s examine the facts:
1. There are flowers
2. Everyone you know is there (and some people you don’t)
3. People bring cards with money in them
4. Your mother-in-law is dressed in black
Well…maybe that was just my wedding.
The main thing I’ve noticed is that, just as weddings are very rarely actually about the blissful couple, funerals are very rarely about the deceased. We all usually have (at both events) someone dictating how things should go. And most of the time, both events leave us thinking, “How did that flower arrangement end up there??? That’s the tackiest damn thing I’ve ever seen.”
Unless you were a “Bridezilla” who was able to tell off every relative you know, using your purple speaker phone, while weaving through traffic in a town of about 100 people, yelling every expletive you know...you probably had at least one portion of your wedding that was influenced by the opinions of others.
(I’m embarrassed to say I’m addicted to that show. I really need to find a hobby.)
Maybe we need to come up with a “Widowzilla” show with someone who yells at people when they bring a sympathy card she’s already seen 15 times, throws a platter of supermarket fried chicken across the front yard, and tells her in-laws and distant relatives that if they don’t sing every word of the song she picked out for the funeral, they will no longer be a part of her family.
I think I’m onto something here.
How many of you actually did what you wanted for the funeral? Have you even thought of what that would be? I have. You know why? Because all of the funerals I’ve attended since my husband died have left me thinking, “Now, why didn’t I do that?”
Just like my wedding.
Why are we so damned polite? Why do we do things to appease other people when we, in our hearts, know what our spouses would actually want?
Because…unfortunately…funerals are not as much about the person who is gone as they are about the people who are left behind to deal with it.
Everyone thinks they know your spouse better than you do. That guy who used to ride tricycles with your husband when they were 5 years old? He’s got an opinion about this. Your in-laws, who were never as close to your wife as they would like to think? Here’s their 2 cents. The people who you are paying to run the show? They have a pretty good idea of what “needs” to be done.
Those of you who were the “Widowzillas”…frankly…I applaud you. I talk a good game now, 3 years after my husband passed, about what people should do when they’re losing a loved one. “Stand up to them!” I say. “Do what your spouse would have wanted!”
But the truth is (and this will sound not very "Widow Chick" of me)…sometimes it’s better to just let them have their say. Let the whole public memorial be about them. And then do what your spouse would have wanted you to do. In private.
Because…just like your wedding…your most intimate moment didn’t happen when everyone else was there. It happened when no one else was looking.