Honor the Dead, But Don’t Overdo It

Funerals are for the dead not the living. But the dead don’t care. They are way past it. It is important that we do what we can to accurately bear witness to the confession the dead made. That is our goal. But don’t be fooled by the family into thinking that they are as interested in that as they are in celebrating the relationship they had and confessing their own hopes. Aunt Millie may have loved “Amazing Grace” on earth but she doesn’t care now. If the survivors hated “Amazing Grace” but she loved it, you can bet they would drop it. Their insistence isn’t about her, it is about them. They are afraid of death and don’t want anyone to know it. They always exaggerate their relationship to the deceased. There is a lot of play acting. They might get their way. Sometimes it is impossible to stop. And there is real, painful mourning. You don’t want to make it worse. You have to do what you can to be loyal to the faithful departed and to speak for them of what they now behold, regardless of how confused they might have been on earth. But don’t feel any guilt because the family took the funeral from you, dishonored a saint of God by insisting on weak hymns and less than ideal ceremonies, or because they hate you for how you handled it. Don’t feel any guilt – because the dead don’t care. Funerals are always touchy and you have to give ground where you can.