The Good Funeral Guide Blog

What to say at the really difficult ones?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

 

It was an extraordinary business. You may have read about it. Back in May of this year, a grandmother shot dead her 17 year-old grandson in leafy suburb of Detroit. She’s in prison now, awaiting trial. Goodness knows what really went on. She looks harmless enough, and her grandson, Jonathan, doesn’t necessarily seem to have been the type to make people murderous. Read about it in the Mail here

It was bound to be a difficult funeral. Celebrants do quite a few difficult funerals and it can be very hard to find words worth saying at them. For this reason, all celebrants are interested to know what other celebrants say at the really tough ones. 

What was said at Jonathan’s funeral? By good fortune, the funeral was filmed. It was a Jewish funeral, so it’s worth watching for all sorts of reasons if you’ve never seen a Jewish funeral before. 

These were the opening words:

Friends, as we gather today, we each come to this moment seeking answers, trying to find understanding about the unthinkable, the unimaginable. And in this moment our focus cannot be on those answers which we will never find. We cannot dwell on that which has passed, for even the answers that may come to mind are unacceptable, they challenge who we are as a community, as a people. So rather than turn to those answers, we turn to our own personal sense of hope. The life lost was not for nothing. We pray that this moment of gathering with friends and family brings us healing of some kind, understanding that this moment is the beginning for the rest of us of the next moments of our lives.

See the whole funeral here. Listen to Jonathan’s last, desperate 911 call here

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