Although he had definite beliefs about God, Tom wasn’t much of a church-goer. So, rather than a traditional funeral, we held a “celebration of life” for him seven weeks after he passed away. The room we booked for the event was packed with Tom’s friends – all of whom loved him and were willing to share stories, give us hugs, and tell us how much he would be missed. It was very cathartic to eavesdrop on them as they had their own moments of joy remembering a funny anecdote, or sorrow as they expressed disbelief. Their attendance – not only Tom’s friends but also my parents’ friends and my friends – was a gift to us. It showed us the value of Tom’s life and it let us know we were not alone in missing him.
In her essay, Deirdre Sullivan shares how she came to her life philosophy. Always go to the funeral: you do it for the family.