Anyone who knows me on a personal level, knows I hate funerals and weddings, but today I’m concentrating on funerals.
Probably because I think both should be private and intimate moments in life, where only those who are part of it should be present at all. That’s why it’s no surprise to anybody in my extended family when they don’t see me around if someone from our community dies.
My mom is always scolding me because she fears no one will attend my funeral. She always says,
“The day you die nobody is going to go to your funeral.!” To which I always respond with a shrug (It’s not like that I’m going to be there to see it. Ha!). I wouldn’t disrespect her by saying it out loud, but the answer always pops up involuntarily in my head.
Wait a second! Did I tell you that in Puerto Rican communities when someone dies everyone that knew the family is expected to attend?
That’s how it is, which means that you’re going to be attending a funeral home that’s packed with people, everyone talking at the same time, and some are even going to be coming in and out of the designated area for coffee and snacks (now a days they even serve food).
Bottom line, it’s basically a goodbye party!
Although it used to be worse back in the day. When my grandfather passed away (who was like a father to me), the arrangements for his viewing were held in his own home.
My God, talk about something wrong and I will always have this one on the top of my list.
His viewing lasted three days, can you believe it? When the day finally arrived where he would be laid to rest I was exhausted, my eyes had dried out, and all I wanted was to get over it, as soon as possible.
I watched in horror as every night people came from God knows where to attend his viewing, and after paying the widow (my grandmother) their due respects, than would step out to the “batey” to talk with folks they haven’t seen in years.
Sometimes people would get loud, making jokes and drinking coffee till the wee hours of dawn.
Did I also forget to mention that you weren’t suppose to sleep during the viewing. This is when probably my hatred for funerals was born.
Some time ago I read a great blog from Ann Jacobous featured in Friends For The Ride, where she points out that “the moment a loved one leaves this world is a sacred moment..”.
This is how it’s supposed to be! I really don’t know how I’m going to feel when my own parents pass away, but for sure I want privacy and serenity to be able to face the moment when it eventually comes around.
Facing the eve of life of anyone who’s important in your life is hard enough, let’s not make it more difficult by adding the grievance of having to put up with the endless line of friends, friends of friends, family, and family of family (if you’re Puerto Rican you know what I’m talking about) as they all want to share a piece of you.
Life goes on as it usually does, and after the funeral is when our friends and family need us around to help them cope with their loss.
So, you can figure out by now “mis queridos amigos” no traditional goodbye party for my sake, I’ll rather prefer for my loved ones a very quiet tea party that will be held only by invitation so they can celebrate my life and recall the better moments we shared together.
And remember never stop believing in yourself or the good of life.
“Hasta la próxima.”