My dad once gave me an unusually harsh response when I said something to the effect that he was a "funeral groupie". My young adult mouth was just speaking in lighthearted jest, but he immediately became serious and said death was nothing to joke about.
It simply seemed to me that he was always going to the funeral home for calling hours or a funeral. It seemed excessive to me.
A few years older and wiser, I now know more about why he was seemingly always at the funeral home.
First, when you get a bit older you know more people. The odds are higher that you'll have a connection to the deceased.
Also, you come to understand and appreciate the unspoken requirement and very real honor you give the deceased and those they leave behind by attending the services. I think this is important to note in light of the recent holiday as continuing honor is given to the war dead by attending Memorial Day services.
The truth is that now I sometimes wonder if I'm not a "funeral groupie". I mean no disrespect by that term. I just appreciate a good funeral-one that truly honors a person's life. Of course this is much easier to do when the deceased lived a good, long life.
I love hearing stories about the person, often learning things I didn't know. Sure, the emotions run high and I often shed a few tears. However, I also smile, sometimes quietly laugh, and I even wanted to applaud at the last funeral I attended. I wanted to applaud the deceased's courage and example. I knew that probably wasn't appropriate, so I just beamed a great big smile.