It's a well known phrase. "You're never too old to learn something new". My discovery may be obvious to many, and maybe I should not be admitting this as a revelation so late in life. Perhaps I've never had the occasion to really think about it before now. I confess, it came to me like a lightening bolt yesterday morning as we were driving to church for my dad's memorial service. I mentioned my new piece of awareness to hubby who simply replied, "That's right. You've got it."
I had attended funerals in the past, mostly those of aged family members. When my mom died at a relatively young age after a short illness, I was so absorbed in my own challenges, a husband who had undergone recent surgery and two small children, one with medical issues, that I barely remember the events. I was sad, overwhelmed and stressed and everything felt like a huge blurr. I do have a memory of large crowds of people attending the service and vehicles which lined Liverpool Road from south to north in what appeared to be an endless procession.
During this past week we have been planning dad's memorial, writing a biography, clipping and gluing photo displays, selecting hymns and bible verses, printing bulletins and everything else involved with organizing this service. Sympathy cards arrived daily as did condolence emails and telephone calls. I was amazed at how many of my friends had somehow learned of our sad news. I was also surprised and pleased when some said they'd be attending the service. After all, they barely knew my dad if at all.
So what did I announce on our way to church yesterday? Only this, "I think I figured something out. I think that a lot of people attend funerals and memorial services to support the survivors".
The memorial service was lovely. I held it together long enough to complete my reading of "I'll Really Miss Him" (blog Oct. 9, 2010). I was sad, stressed, nervous and yet happy to see the terrific turnout of people. In attendance were family members plus many of dad's friends, church members, people from his old neighbourhood and representatives from places he'd worked. Then, there were my friends...close friends, distant friends, former co-workers and even my eighth grade teacher! It was fantastic to see them and to realize that all these people had taken the time to attend.
Last night, I mentioned to hubby that perhaps I wouldn't have any kind of a church service or gathering when I die...maybe just something small and private. His words were, "Before you decide that, remember what you just told me you learned".