We need to have practice funerals, times that we get together before a loved one passes away to celebrate their life and interact with them. But that’s not how life happens. My own grandmother’s death came suddenly, unplanned, when she was in the hospital just to be released after a bout with pneumonia. She had just written a letter to one of her daughters saying…Don’t you worry. I’m so much better here. Have the very best of care. Then a blood clot formed and quickly took her life. We were all in shock at grandma’s sudden demise and wished we had visited her more often. I lived about 100 miles away then, and because of college classes hadn’t been able to see her in the hospital.
With my own mother, her death came slowly after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. She declined then fell into a coma and quietly left us. Hospice was a great help with her situation, and family members who lived nearby were able to visit her often. But it wasn’t until Mom’s funeral that the whole family came together for the first time in many years. Unfortunately, she was not alive to enjoy the company of all her grandchildren and extended family.
We need to have more pre-funeral celebrations. Maybe that’s what a family reunion is all about, but today’s families are too busy for gathering. We live too far apart. The tight knit family dwelling in the same community is a thing of the past. We may twitter and email but we’re lacking the physical contacts-the hugs, kisses and face-to-face conversations that we had in earlier times with our extended family.
Next summer I will be celebrating my 70th birthday, which seems impossible because I feel much younger inside! I’m trying to get my whole family together to celebrate, but I doubt it will happen. If it was my funeral, they would make the effort to come, but I would like to have the physical contact and interaction that comes only from being all together as a family now.
How about you? Is there someone you need to visit who might not be there tomorrow? It’s not only age that takes us away from this life, but accidents and illnesses that can come at any age. Isn’t it time we made more time for family and planned more pre-funeral celebrations or practice funerals?