We need to be more respectful to grieving families, argues Leader columnist Mattie Fox
Funerals are a part of all our lives.
Many people attend funerals, giving a great sense of support and peace to the grieving family. It’s a nice thing, and it would be a pity if the habitual ritual ever died out.
However, I recently attended a number of funerals, as is usual at Christmas, and as usual, the priest or minister now asks for everyone to cooperate with the ushers.
Ushers are a relatively new development, and a badly needed one.
The ushers put some order on what used to be a chaotic circumstance where everyone rushed and crushed forward to surround the grieving family as quickly as possible.
One would have thought that a funeral, of all places, would serve to remind people of how short a time we spend on this earth, and to show some respect towards others.
But no, some people are incredibly unthinking, and rush forward at the first opportunity. Obviously they don’t think twice about it, but they should.
This usually happens as the ushers are starting to do their duty.
However, another aspect of funeral habits, is the untimely and rather horrible practice of racing up to sympathise before the mass even starts.
This takes place while the grieving family are trying to have some time to themselves, and time to reflect on the final stages of a loved one's time in their company, on this earth.
It’s really quite disgusting to find every few minutes another hurried sympathiser arriving to “get the condolences out of the way” so they can leave early.
I recall often the day of my own father’s funeral.
I had to find somewhere to hide, literally, as I wasn’t able to deal with the usual suspects coming from all sides, as though they hadn’t time to stay any longer.
Which was fine but not an excuse for inappropriate behaviour.
It would have been much more respectful if those people didn’t come at all. They could always tender their condolences at another time, when all was over. It seemed that nobody ever gave a thought to how we the family, were feeling, on that awful day of days.
None of us wanted to have any distraction at all, and wanted to savour these last few minutes, before the Mass.
I couldn’t care less, at the time, whether or not these people were present or not.
Nobody thinks. Well of course, some do think.
But only of themselves.
It’s time more gave a little thought to the feelings of relatives.