Saturday, March 16, 2013

I Think I've Stopped Going to Funerals...

Well, what's the purpose of a funeral? Not giving it a lot of thought, I guess for those not directly involved, it is a way to let those who were directly involved, the family and loved ones, that you are supporting them and by your presence you hope that it will be of some help in the grieving process. That you being there will offer some comfort, as little as it may be.
Our society somewhat deems the viewing or wake or whatever it's called, the church part, the service at the cemetery, and then the usually meeting somewhere for food, as almost mandatory.
And, I'm sure that to some extent, the whole ritual with the gathering of friends and acquaintances does help the family weather through a little better. However, the religious part just flat-out pisses me off.
Here's an example of what I mean that I wrote several years ago.

A cherished friend of sixty years died. How would I describe him? Well, sit and write everything you'd like to have in a good human being, and that would describe him. As a human being, he had it all.
A couple of years before he died cancer started its attack. Gathering speed and resisting all known medical treatments, it soon had the upper hand and attacked with a vengeance. The day before he died I visited him briefly. This strong exuberant person, who loved life and always tried to spread happiness, good will, and humor, had been reduced to lying in his death bed, weighing not more that 75 pounds, eyes open...not able to talk or move. It wasn’t known whether or not he could hear and even if he had the ability, I doubt that he could have overcome the horrible pain he suffered every moment his life continued.
Yes, I went to the funeral. Yes, went to the church. Catholic. There were hundreds of people.

I picked a seat at the end of a pew. I watched the faithful come in, kneel, move their hands around saying, I guess, some kind of prayer before seating themselves. Also, a kind of birdbath thing with water. Here the faithful, dipped their fingers. Hey, guess it was holy water.

And then the proceeding started. No, I can't remember it all. There were at least four men dressed in, well, sorry, dressed in tacky and ostentatious costumes. They walked up on the stage, or whatever it's called, and spent no telling how long moving around kissing things, mumbling prayers, moving stuff around, opening and closing books and Bibles....and so on. They sat side by side, each jumping up and doing something and then passing it on to another.

As I watched this I just got more and more disgusted and angry. Here was my friend lying dead in his coffin and they seemed to be putting on some kind of show for, of all people, God. They seemed to be praising God! I'm thinking, if God had the all-powerful stuff everyone talked about, why did He allow my friend to die in the manner he did. I found it insulting, praising God, as I found him to be the villain. The Devil, if you will. Isn't anyone pissed off? Isn't anyone mad at God for allowing this horrific thing to happen? No, praising God!

Yes, they did finally speak of my friend, but it was as if he was secondary to praising God for allowing him (my friend) to enter the Kingdom of Heaven…or something like that.

After 30 minutes or so I started questioning if I should stay for the rest of their show. Would I dishonor my friend if I left? Of course, he would never know, so how could I dishonor him? Finally, after ruminating for 15 minutes, I decided I could best honor him by getting the hell out of the church. And, I did.

I may never go to another funeral. I do not like being held as sort of a hostage, to use that term, by a bunch of so-called preachers and priests, who believe in myths, fantasies, fairy tales, superstitions, dress in truly tacky costumes, go through endless worthless rituals, and keep saying things like, "Oh, heavenly father." It all just seems so fucking ridiculous. You know, it's one thing if you believe all the BS that these people spout, but frankly, for nonbeliever it's almost painful to sit there and try to endure.

1 comment:

  1. Quite sorry to hear about your friend, George. I'm glad you ended up doing what was already in your nature. To get out of that place. If there is some sort of after-life and your friend was there to see you, he surely would want you to remain true to whom he knew in 'life' correct? :/