“We put the fun back in funeral.” I first heard this when I was six at my great-grandma’s funeral and at that time I didn’t think anything of it. My mom saying it offhandedly to one of her brothers and I didn’t see anything wrong with it. For all I knew funerals were fun, we ate cake, I got a new dress, and I got to play with my cousins for hours. I didn’t know any different until I attended a funeral when I was eleven and it was anything but fun. People were crying and wearing all black, but that phrase still stuck with me. I didn’t hear it again until this past year when this time my uncle said it to my mom at my cousin’s funeral and now that I was old enough to understand it, it gave me a lot to think about. My first thought was that’s so heartless, somebody just died and we are talking about fun? But I decided to go much deeper, to look further, to try to understand what my family could have possibly meant. So I looked at my mom’s history to better understand her and her family’s attitude towards funeral and ultimately my mom’s attitude towards life. My mom attended five funerals before she turned twenty-five, three sisters, a brother, and finally her mother. So by now, she has become a pro in the funeral department and her family has learned to cope with all of this by looking for the joy in sad situations. Despite all of the pain my mother has felt, she, with that phrase, has taught me one of the most important lessons I will ever learn. Life should be celebrated, not death. The good should always overshadow the bad. She has shown me that if you truly live your life the right way, nobody will want to think of your death, but celebrate your life, talk about the good memories, the fun times you share. I believe in living optimistically, and knowing that whatever bad thing, like death, comes there is always some good out there. I have learned to laugh often when I want to cry and smile when there is nothing left. My mother’s wisdom has carried me this far in my life and I hope it carries me even further. So I hope eventually when I die, everyone comes to my funeral ready to celebrate life and remember, “to put the fun back in funeral.”
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