Sometimes people ask WHY we have funerals. Good Question. Unfortunately, many of our colleagues aren’t quite sure themselves so they stumble.
With almost 40 years under my belt (and you thought I was overweight?) I have come to a conclusion and have coined a phrase I welcome my readers to adopt:
My friend Karl Jennings of the Acute Loss Center observed a frequent and common behavior in major catastrophes and celebrity deaths. In these events, humans display a visceral need to participate in mutual and common behaviors. The strongest of these is the need to gather, honor and interact physically with others. What made this observation so vivid for Karl, and anyone who understands his theory, is that the need is no less strong in those who don’t even know the affected parties.
I have come to believe that human psyche is wired to respond to human suffering in a certain way and that way involves collaborative healing. Funerals, ceremonies, ritual, parties…whatever you want to call it…function for that purpose. In our far-flung, post-industrial world funeral homes function to organize, orchestrate and focus this need.
Those who doubt the value of what you do are simply ignoring an observable and verifiable human need. I will leave the rest of this conversation to Karl. He gets it better than anyone.