16.6.07

I come not to praise Caesar

Usually I blog because I want to, not because there's some hidden "Hey YOU" message. I don't really anticipate other's reactions, or even dare to hope that a particular post will strike a nerve or resonate. It's more for me to work out those mental kinks.

Not this post. This post is for anyone in my family reading this blog. And if anyone else gets something from it, all the better.

Yesterday I went to the funeral of a cousin. This isn't the first member of my family to die, nor is it the first family funeral at which I've felt uncomfortable during the eulogizing. So, for the benefit of all, here are Lazygal's Tips to Proper Eulogy Etiquette:
  1. Do not use your time to bring up unresolved issues . If you were estranged from, had an argument/disagreement with, or generally didn't like the departed: shut up about it. Ditto if they owed you money/garden tools/a cup of sugar. That old adage "if you can't say something nice" applies.
  2. Do not use "coded language" in your eulogy. If you really mean (and everyone will know that you mean) Dearly Beloved was a nosy busybody who couldn't shut up or butt out, do not say that Dearly Beloved "was always there to help out". Do not say that Dearly Beloved was a fount of knowledge when you really mean that they were a Know-it-all.
  3. Do not - ever - bring up sex. No one needs to hear about it at this time. And certainly not in public.
  4. Do not announce that you are uncomfortable being there (see rule #1) This also applies to kohanin "defiling their bodies" by attending a funeral, prodigal sons returning, etc.
  5. Do not give people a "brief" glimpse at Dearly Departed's life that takes them on a journey that mentions year-by-year landmarks. Particularly not in freezing or overly hot weather. A few highlights are all that are needed. Really.
  6. Do give people a sense of what made Dearly Departed special. The phrase YMMV applies here: we all have different relationships with people, so cluing the rest of us in on why you loved/cared for/were besotted with DD is wonderful. But pay attention to Rules 3 and 5.
If you're not eulogizing, but are just one of the mourning crowd, these rules still apply. In fact, even more so. There's a reason you weren't asked to speak.

And mourners - Do not be physically inappropriate with any other mourner. This includes sticking your tongue down someone's throat, caressing, or anything else more appropriate to trying to pick a chick up at a frat party.

1 comment:

Aravis said...

All very salient points. Especially the first and the last.

I'm sorry to hear about your cousin.