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Funerals - Ritual Masses and Burials

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i attended a funeral for the father of an old high school chum of mine this morning. his mother was our school librarian (hadn't seen her in many years) and i also attended college with his older brother. their father was 61 years old and died of a sudden heart attack - while he was sleeping. it was a catholic mass. the church was packed and the atmosphere emotionally charged. it was a sorrowful event, yet there was peace, too. amazing grace was sung by a choir and many prayers were offered.

my friend delivered the eulogy. he offered an excellent tribute to his father, several remarks that stick with me and i suspect with stick with me for a while. one of the things his father always said to his sons was "plan your work and work you plan." the other comment that resonated with me was what the priest said about having a gift and making sure you know what it is and that you use it everyday.

not sure what kind of response this will get in this forum, but i am curious to know whether or not you've attended a funeral recently; what were your thoughts while you attended the service; how you would want people to remember you; what do you think your gift is and how do you use it everyday; and whatever thoughts you'd want to share about your experience with death.

for my part, i was nervous. i am not a church-going man myself, but i do have faith in god and it's just good manners and a mark of respect to show your support for a friend during an awful time like this. i am not catholic and their services have always intimidated me with their rituals and the many different prayers. i did not feel unwelcome, however. the service made me think of my own father, who is 64 and suffers from emphysema. sadly, he knows what's going to kill him. it's just a matter of when. me, i guess i hope i will be remembered as a compassionate, helpful and sympathetic person who learned to be kinder to himself as well as to others. my gift, well, i wish i knew for certain, but i guess it's my sociability. i've always been able to get on well with all kinds of people and make them feel comfortable and important.

these are my deep thoughts for today.