It’s a strange feeling when your friends begin to lose their parents. When I receive that call it is almost like a slap in the face- a wake up call that that, too, will be me one day. And I dread that day.
I’ll be honest- it surprised me the first time a friend lost a parent. I had grown up respecting these people who invited me into their homes, gave me rides to and from various school activities, celebrated with us at high times and cried with us a low times. My friend’s parents were a constant part of my childhood, teen and even adult years and I was unable to imagine life without them. Much less imagine life without my own parents.
But, as time would have it, I have began attending funerals that I never truly believed I would attend. And each and every time I learn of the passing of a friend’s loved one, I find myself wondering what I should send to the funeral.
A few days ago I did a "thing" and got my office organized. Professionally organized, that is. I finally had to swallow my pride, call an organizing service, and ask them to come help me conquor some organization dilemas that I was dealing with.
Can I just tell you how silly I felt hiring an organizer to help me do something that I am probably perfectly capable of doing? But, when they got here I was so relieved to have the help! These ladies helped me go through my desk, filing cabinets, storage areas, and look at and touch every. single. item. We would look at whatever it was and decide if we should keep and file, shred, trash, donate, etc. It was an almost overwhelming task!! But it was also kind of funny because we found all sorts of stuff! Plastic silverware (calm down, it was unused!), photos of the kids that I had forgotten about, random stickers, and tons of old shopping receipts.
Have you ever found old shopping receipts? It's like you can barely tell where they are from or what they were for because the ink has faded so much. Someone once told me they use special "disappearing ink" (there is likely a more professional word for the ink they use, but I don't know it) that is designed to fade to make it more difficult to return items to the store as time goes on. Isn't that odd?
I find it so odd that things are designed and manufacted to NOT be permanent anymore. Somewhere down the road our society has chosen to accept that goods are not made to last like they once were. Expensive cell phones become slow after a few years and need replacement. Home appliance are cheaply made and now need periodic replacement. Social medias go out of style and slowly disappear. Websites and servers go down. Nothing is truly permanent any more. Nothing, that is, except for cemeteries.
Ashes. They are more than just ashes. They are the sacred remains of loved ones who have passed before us- they are special.
And how we treat something so special is a very personal and often difficult choice.
Mexican culture is rich and vibrant, full of beautiful traditions, customs and flavors. Their history and faith brings a very special bond to their families, making saying goodbye to a loved one a difficult but meaningful moment.
Our Northwest Arkansas region is blessed to have Mexican influences that bring wonderful foods, crafts, values and so much more to our communities. And while you may be familiar with many of the Mexican traditions, you may not be as familiar with their burial and funeral customs.
Sometimes I just don't know what to say. I'm scared that, if I say the wrong thing, I will unintentionally upset someone that I care about. And I don't want to upset them.
But there is a fine line between not knowing what to say and simply shying away. However, did you know, that most bereaved people report that they would rather talk about their loved one than pretend that he or she never existed? Sometimes, from the outside looking in, we think that not saying anything will help ease the pain of remembrance. However, it does just the opposite- it makes them think their loved one has been forgotten. And no one wants their loved ones to be forgotten.
Did you know there is a whole list of things that your grieving friend or family member wishes you knew? Check out this top ten things that they wish you knew.