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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Last rights

 I went to a funeral a few weeks ago.  My step-mom's grandmother, Lillian, passed away.  Although the deceased and I were never close, I wanted to go to lend support to my family and I had also volunteered to sing at the funeral. 

Now it had been awhile since I had been to a funeral and then followed the car to the cemetery.  At first I was thinking it was nice that the cars would pull over and I didn't have to wait at stop signs and stop lights.  I found myself thinking "I could get used to this".  Then as we drove on I really started looking at all of the cars that were pulled over.  A lot of people were stopped and looking at their cell phones or checking themselves out in the mirror.  They had no idea who the person was that was leading the procession.  They didn't know about Lillian's life and the little things she did for her family.  Nonetheless, cars were stopped up and down the roads and even when we got out onto the highway, where there were four lanes for traffic, cars and motorcycles still pulled over to the side of the road.  I'm sure you're wondering where I'm going with this, but I'm getting there, I promise.

While all of these cars were pulled over I found that I was in awe.  I was very moved.  These people didn't know Lillian but they were pulled over out of respect.  They may not have all realized it at the time, but pulling over during a funeral procession is a last sign of respect for the dead.  I found myself thinking that it was amazing that all of these strangers pulled over.  They didn't question it, they just do it out of habit.   I may totally be over-thinking the whole process but at that one moment I had total clarity and understanding of the ritual. 

Next time you pull over for a funeral procession, instead of being annoyed because you're in a hurry and they're slowing your progress or checking your text messages, stop and think about the person in that hearse.  Ponder about their life and accomplishments and know that they were important to someone.  Pause out of respect because someday it will be your turn and don't you want respect?

1 comment:

  1. I attended a funeral this last year & noticed not only were there cars pulled over, there were several people who removed their hats as they watched the procession. I even saw 1 man get out of his car & stand, hat in hand with his head bowed - as if giving a moment of silence or a prayer for the family. It was very moving!