I attended a wake today. One of my best friends’ mother passed away over this past weekend. The woman who passed had 8 children and lived a happy life. It’s always sad when a loved one dies. I can’t even imagine the pain and heartache. But my friend is doing well and the wake itself seemed like it was more a celebration of her life than a mourning of her death. Which is, in my opinion, what it should be.
For the record, I don’t like funerals. It’s not because I don’t like death. Well…I don’t like death, but I understand it’s a part of life and will happen to everyone eventually. What I don’t like about funerals is the somberness. It’s strange because most of the funerals I’ve been to have been for people who I would say had a love for life. A prime example would be my wife’s grandmother. Nanny was as active and animated as anyone you’ll ever meet. She cooked 3 meals a day and I’m trying to remember if I ever saw her sit down. Seriously, the woman could run rings around me and I wouldn’t have even known it! The woman was constantly on the move. And she always was smiling. She was one happy woman. And her love for life was what made her who she was.
To this day I miss that woman, and she wasn’t even my grandmother. When she made it to our wedding, it made that day all that more special. She was truly a gift for our family and we miss her. When she passed, it was a sad time. There will always be mourning in a time like that. Of course we miss her. She was a wonderful person! But instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, I’ve always felt that there should be a celebration of the way she lived her life. The way she approached every day was fresh and exciting. I don’t know how the woman did it, but she was a light in the dark night.
Today at the wake, I felt that the woman we were there to say goodbye too would have wanted her life to be celebrated. We all talked and laughed and reminisced. I didn’t see any tears. It was an open casket and someone had placed a candy bar on the mother’s chest. She had loved chocolate and it was something that brought her joy. I thought that was pretty cool. The passing of a loved one is so difficult and can be so jarring that the last thing YOU might want to do is have a good laugh and eat a chocolate bar. But once you get past yourself, what are you really there for?
You are there to remember the life of someone who once was an important part of you. Someone who gave to you more than they gave to themselves. I didn’t really know my friends’ mother at all. I think I met her once at my friend’s wedding reception. But judging from the amount of people and the amount of smiles and laughs and memories that were being passed around, I would say she lived a very large life. And in the end, that is something definately worth celebrating.