Attending a funeral is personal and emotional. Experiencing it in Australia gave me 10 lessons worth pondering about. It was a wakeup call for me.
- Friends come and go.
The woman delivered a touching eulogy about our family friend about how they met and became friends. She was calm and composed. To my surprise, she took a seat near me, covered her face with her hands and silently wept. I felt her pain. The sadness is intensified when a friend who loved you for 25 years passed away. I have known Nanay Lena ( Mother Lena) for more than 4 years but I had a heavy heart during the funeral. She was our second mother here in Australia.
- Your own funeral shows how much you have loved in your lifetime.
It was my first time to attend a funeral in Australia. I was amazed to see a lot of people who came to pay their last respects. It looked like a multicultural gathering. The chapel was fully packed and there were people standing outside. Love given is much appreciated across cultures.
- People will find the time or make time for someone they consider important.
The funeral was a weekday. The attendees could have been working on their day jobs or attending meetings or handling transactions. No. All of us were there.
- The unity and support of family and friends are essential.
Dying overseas has a disadvantage. The relatives can’t attend the funeral especially if the country where you came from is far away. Migrants who live with relatives are fortunate. In times of grief, the emotional burden becomes bearable when there are available family and friends offering assistance.
- Observing a funeral makes you think about your own death.
Death is certain. It will come to all of us. Questions will start pouring out. What will I choose: cremation or burial? Am I ready to die? What will happen to my family if I die young? Are my finances sorted out when I die? Sad to say, I am not prepared. I should be.
- You will never know when your time is up.
I am turning 40 next year and I am thankful I reached my late 30s. My childhood friend died of leukemia at age 7. My grandmother (mother’ side) died of cancer at age 43. Our college school mate gave me a doughnut before his tragic car accident.He passed away at age 21. My grandparents (father’s side) lived up to their early 80s.
A funeral gives you a subtle reminder that you will never know when your time is up. Better LIVE your life to the fullest!
- Crying is the best way to release your pent-up emotions during a funeral.
The request of Nanay Lena before she died was no one should cry at her funeral. I admit. I couldn’t do it. My other friend and I hugged the bereaved daughter and sobbed our hearts out. I tried not to cry but tears kept rolling on my cheeks.
Crying for me is one way of:
- coping or accepting the fact
- gathering the strength to move on with life without her.
- Appreciate the presence of a loved one while they are still alive.
Looking back, I am pleased I found time to attend all the get-together parties my friend had set up. Nanay Lena was the coordinator that connected us all. She attended the last ladies night out I hosted at home. Even if she was not feeling well, she took the time to mingle with my new-found friends. Catching up with friends is a great way to strengthen the bond of friendship. Time is NOT wasted when we enjoy each other’s company with laughter and drama.
I am glad my family and I took the time to visit her in the hospital or called her on special occasions. If I didn’t, it could have been one of my regrets.
- Money and emotional stability are needed for the funeral services and reception.
Funeral insurance seems a good idea. I should get my act together and start planning for this. Cremation or burial services are not cheap.
Losing a loved one is tough. Grieving for the loss but still have to do the paper work and make phone calls force you to control your emotions and have the utmost presence of mind. Though it was a difficult time, the bereaved spouse and daughter were brave to go through it all.
- The reception after the funeral made me realize that whatever you did in your lifetime, it will come back to you even after death.
Nanay Lena was an excellent cook. She cooked for me when I hosted parties or shared a dish worth drooling for. She even invited us when she had some special food prepared.
During the reception, there were two long tables filled with different types of food all shared by the attendees of the funeral. The home cooked dishes were their best recipes and all had a good meal. As if my friend was there overlooking the get-together of friends just like the good old days.
In addition, I miss her especially when Facebook shows the photos of the good times we had when she was still with us. I forced back the tears because I saw those photos while riding a bus. My seatmates might think I was going crazy.
Overall, let us make an effort not to take family and friends for granted. It is so easy to say ” I am busy now.” Do not create a lingering regret in the future that is difficult to live with. LOVE while we still have the TIME. Are you ready?
Share this article with someone who needs a WAKEUP CALL.