Growing up, I loved going to funerals. Why, you might ask? What joy could one possibly derive from an occasion as somber as a funeral? Well it's quite simple really, so without further ado:
1. Didn't know the person/wasn't close to them
All of the funerals I went to as a kid were either for some relative who I'd never met, or some relative who I knew, but wasn't close to at all. I clearly remember an Aunt coming up to me at my Grandfather's funeral (I wasn't close to either of my Grandparents, I barely saw them), asking me how I was doing. I must have been about seven at the time, probably in second grade. My response? "Great, I got to miss school!" Granted, she was probably a little shocked, but seeing as I was so young, it was hard for her to get angry with me. As a little kid, your empathy for other isn't really quite developed yet, and the fact that everyone else is sad, doesn't really bother you, or well, at least, it didn't bother me. Honestly though, this was the main thing I thought of, whenever I heard news of a funeral, "Woohoo! no school!" Which, brings me to number 2....
2. No School
Getting to skip school was great, and, because it was for a funeral, teachers would feel bad, and give you extra time to make up assignments. Also, when I'd go back to school the next day, everyone would be fascinated. They'd ask questions like "Did you get to see the body?", "What did they look like?" "What did they die from?". Gee, I'm sure the teachers loved it, hahaha.
3. Free entertainment via the Pastor
Growing up, I was dragged to Church 2 or 3 times by my Grandmother. I always found it boring and got nothing out of it, granted, I was pretty young. Luckily, my parents never forced religion on me, or my brother for that matter. As a result, whenever I would go to a funeral, and hear the Pastor go on about God etc., no offense, but it was a laugh a minute! "...and God will swallow up the Earth!", etc. I didn't take a word of it seriously (still don't, I'm Agnostic), and especially as a little kid, it sounded like complete gibberish, and it was hard for me to not laugh uncontrollably. The best part, was on the way home, my brother and I would sarcastically quote and make fun of the pastor, and, especially, my Dad's sisters side of the family, much to the annoyance of my dad. We, my brother and I, referred to my dad's sisters side of the family as "The Flanders", because they took religion very seriously. They would use phrases like "God wouldn't like that" etc., and it was nothing but fodder for my brother and I. I clearly remember hiding, in a closet at my dad's sisters house, after a funeral, when I was 6 or so, to mess with one of them. My dad's sister's daughter, was coming up the stairs, and I decided it would be funny to hide in the closet and say "Name withheld, this is the voice of God speaking." Thankfully, I didn't get in trouble.
4. An excuse to see Relatives
Coming from a typical "white" family (my Dad is spanish, but he sure acts white), we only really saw relatives at Thanksgiving and Christmas. So funerals, were an excuse to see relatives. There were two main relatives I always loved seeing. One was a cousin of mine, who was pretty much the black sheep of her family (The Flanders), and reminded me of Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice, go figure, I got along with her. Of course, I saw the rest of the The Flanders as well, which was also entertaining, in it's own way. The other was an uncle of mine who I swear was a dead ringer for Schmee from Hook. He didn't take religion seriously either, and as I got a little older, we'd make sarcastic comments (not just my brother and I anymore) to each other after the funeral, about the Pastor's spiel.
5. An excuse to eat good food
Funerals were also an excuse to eat good food. After the funeral service, we would always go to the nearby Church dining hall, and stuff our faces, heh. All of the relatives would bring food, and it was always delicious. Ribs, chicken, cheesecake, you name it, it was there.
6. Coming to understand, and be comfortable with the idea of Death
So, long before I attended my first funeral, my little pre-schooler mind came across the idea of Death for the first time. I'm not sure when it was, I'm guessing I was 2 or 3. Well, I was completely terrified. I guess it explains my eventual morbid fascinations with horror movies, serial killers, etc. Anyways, funerals definitely helped me come to terms with the fact that I was going to die someday. I realized, that everyone, was going to die eventually, and there was nothing I could do about it. I realized I was better off enjoying my life while I was still alive, and crossing that bridge when I came to it.
I hope you enjoyed my article, thank you and good night.