always go to the funeral.

There is one "This I Believe" essay that had moved me to action more than any other:

Here it is.

It has inspired me to attend all kinds of events that I would normally avoid: baby and bridal showers, birthday parties, etc.

I had the opportunity to attend a funeral today. My sister-in-law's father died abruptly of a heart attack on New Year's Eve. Although I did not know him well, I was eager to indicate any support I could offer through my attendance at such a formal gathering.

There is, of course, another virtue in attending funerals that stood strongly in my mind today. They are a great equalizing force that reminds us of our inevitable fate to continue to experience encounters with death as time moves forward. This is humbling and connects me to all humankind. It makes me want to give more hugs, to speak more loving words, to offer more appreciation and forgiveness, to allow more people within the inner nucleus walls of my life. It makes me happy to refer to everyone as "Brother" or "Sister" at church.

When I was married the first time, we had a very small and quiet celebration. Instead of a reception, we held a luncheon at a restaurant. Only those included in the wedding party were invited to attend.

At my next wedding, (when and if this ever happens) I want to invite everyone. Classmates, friends of friends, old primary teachers, my sister-in-law's in-laws; everyone. I no longer see such life-changing occasions as being about individuals. We are all members of a human network, linked by human experience, blood, births, love, marriage, tears, and death.


whit said...

I liked this, I liked that essay, thanks for the reminder.

Annie said...

Love this, Laura! Your little essay was also so lovey and resonated so deeply with me. All I have to say is: YES!!!

Matt and Suzanne said...

Love this, very well put. I will be there :)

mim said...

Good entry.

Hilary-Dilary-Dock said...

Thank you Laura! I sooooooo much appreciate your attendance at my dad's funeral. I also heard that essay and loved it. It is true. Thank you for reminding me about it. The baby showers are the hard ones for me. But the support is much needed, and on my end of things, appreciated.