I went to a funeral for an acquaintance from my sports club this week. It was a brief, tasteful service followed by lunch at the local RSL. All of us from the club came wearing our jerseys. I think his family would say the day went well.
Except I was a mess throughout the whole thing. There weren’t enough seats available so I stood up the back with Pea and spent the service trying not to break down, wiping tears away on my jersey. At one point in the service everyone took turns to place a rose petal on his coffin. When it was my turn I went up with my head down because I was embarrassed at being so upset. Our friend had more to do with Pea than me and he wasn’t crying.
I’m like this at every funeral I go to. It doesn’t matter who it’s for, how well I know them – not at all in some cases – funerals turn me into a mess. I get upset then try to hide my being upset because I worry that people will think I’m being inappropriate crying over someone I didn’t know very well. And if I do know them well I still question the appropriateness of my grief.
As a person on the spectrum no event makes me question my behaviour more than a funeral. Am I grieving too much? What do I wear? Do I talk to the family or do they want to be left alone? Should I even be at this funeral? Did I have enough to do with him to earn a place here?
I’ve got to remember that death and everything around it is awkward for literally everyone. When I went to this funeral no-one said I shouldn’t be there. Several people in fact said they were happy to see me. And as we had lunch at the RSL exchanging stories and memories a sad day turned into a good one.
After all, nothing brings people together like a funeral.