Always go to the funeral

Charles Cowling


I believe in always going to the funeral. My father taught me that.

“Always go to the funeral” means that I have to do the right thing when I really, really don’t feel like it

In going to funerals, I’ve come to believe that while I wait to make a grand heroic gesture, I should just stick to the small inconveniences that let me share in life’s inevitable, occasional calamity.

On a cold April night three years ago, my father died a quiet death from cancer. His funeral was on a Wednesday, middle of the workweek. I had been numb for days cheap cialis uk suppliers when, for some reason, during the funeral, I turned and looked back at the folks in the church. The memory of it still takes my breath away. The most human, powerful and humbling thing I’ve ever seen was a church at 3:00 on a Wednesday full of inconvenienced people who believe in going to the funeral.

These words are taken from a short essay by Deirdre Sullivan. It’s well worth reading. 

If you’re a celebrant, you might consider commending your congregations for having made the effort to come (something I signally failed to do at the funeral I led on Friday.) 

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9 years ago

Totally agree – a sense of duty to others is vital in a civilised society. And yes, the gathered should always be thanked for their attendance. There seems to be a preference for all mourners to follow the coffin into the chapel/crem but sometimes it is rather wonderful to have all the mourners gathered inside prior to the entrance of the coffin and chief mourners……….rather like a wedding entrance where the bride can see all those who have assembled and a sense of something important happening. There is a sense of drama and respect as they stand when the deceased… Read more »

Kathryn Edwards
Kathryn Edwards
9 years ago

How I wish everyone would take on this sound and proper guidance. Too often I have hear people say that they don’t ‘like’ funerals and they ‘don’t feel like’ going to one. Bring back a sense of duty!

This is a beautiful post that took me on a long and uplifting online wander.

9 years ago

Indeed, I had the same breathtaking feeling when I walked into the church behind my father’s coffin and saw the great and good assembled to bid him farewell. Suddenly he grew so much bigger in my heart – not just ‘my Dad’ but faithful employee, good neighbour, loyal workmate, family friend, customer at the village shop, occasional visitor to the local pub – all these facets, and more, represented by each of those precious people who ‘did their old fashioned duty’ and came to his funeral.

gloria mundi
9 years ago

Wisdom here Charles, and a very good tip from you. Thanks.