Funerals are likely not anyone’s favorite place to be. I personally find funerals soothing in some way. Someone has died, and the people who love, admire, and respect the person come together to say goodbye. We send the person off and comfort those who remain behind. Closure is sometimes viewed as an unrealistic situation, but to me, it’s something I need.

I have some friends, about seven of them, who have made the decision to NOT have any type of funeral or memorial service when they die. Maybe some of you reading this feel the same way. This puts my emotions into a mixed-up, confused state. Who am I to say what end-of-life decisions someone else should make? But I can’t help it; I really want them to have a final goodbye on earth.

The funeral I attended yesterday was that of a good friend from church. She was instrumental in my years-ago decision to become a lay reader at church. When she became disabled from a stroke last year, I had the opportunity to tell her in person how much she had meant to my life in that aspect. Silly us…too often we keep thankful thoughts in our heads instead of saying them out loud to the folks who need to hear them.

And at funerals, the loved ones of the deceased get to hear those thoughts and stories. They may never have known what an impact their husband had on people’s careers. They may have no idea that something their mother taught a person changed that person’s life. There may be dozens of funny, sad, or poignant stories about their loved one that they had never heard. And without a funeral, never will.

So do me a favor. If you’re one of those who want to go gentle or quietly into that good night, just think it over from your family’s and friends’ points of view. We want to talk about you. And I promise that it will all be good.


Do Not Go Gentle poem

The impact of NOT attending funerals during the pandemic