Last Friday I attended my uncle’s funeral. As often happens with funerals, it was both a wonderful and awful day.
It was so sad of course; despite the fact you’ve lost someone yourself, it’s really hard watching your family going through the pain and suffering, especially when there’s nothing you can do about it. I just wanted to get up and hug my cousins and my Aunty all the way through the service. They were so strong, but of course it was so difficult for them.
It was amazing to see how many people turned up to celebrate his life though. There were literally over a hundred people listening to the service on the grass outside the church as they couldn’t get in. He was clearly very loved and that’s wonderful to see, and made me very proud to have been a part of his family.
After a funeral service it’s always lovely to start to let your tears dry, celebrate the person who you’ve said goodbye to, and start to laugh together as you do it, whilst having a drink with the other people in their life.
It always makes me think about life and death and everything in between, as I’m sure it does most people. It’s such a weird thing; having someone in your life for your entire life, and then them not being there anymore. It feels so hard to believe and understand, especially when they weren’t a part of your everyday life so your daily life doesn’t actually change.
But then it’s those times when they would normally be there – and that includes their funeral. It always feels so surreal that are you in a room with all of the people closest to them in the world, and from both sides of their family – and yet they are not there themselves. I kept seeing him there the other day; men a similar age to him, with similar hair, and it’s a shock when you remember it can’t be him.
I know it’s stupid, but I always think it’s a shame we can’t celebrate someone’s life with them whilst they are still here. It very, very rarely happens in life when all of your favourite people are together in one place – friends, family from both sides, people who live really far away who you hardly ever see – apart from your own wedding, that never really happens. And they don’t get to see it (or maybe they do).
Funerals also always remind me about how much I love my family and friends and how I should appreciate them more and tell them I love them all the time, and make the effort to see them regularly. I hadn’t seen my uncle since his son’s wedding last year, as we don’t have the annual family Christmas thing anymore, and that makes me a bit sad. We all have busy lives, but our lives are all about the people in it.
Life is a bloody weird thing isn’t it. And death. If I think about it too much I go a bit crazy, so I try not to, but then, it’s always good to think about the fact that life can be short and we have to make the most of it. There’s no point in not being happy; we only get one chance.