Monday, January 7, 2013

About Death - Something to Tell Your Family

Peter Goodwin's funeral Auckland 2011.
I wish I could find a happier way to start 2013 but over the past 18 months I have had four close deaths of people very dear to me and in three cases I nearly didn't find out! The plea is Please friends, let your family know I exist so that I can grieve and come to your funeral!

Life has changed! Families now do not play the important part in many people's lives than they once did. Many families have split up and live countries apart and so friends and next door neighbors start to occupy a more important place in one's life than perhaps they once would have done.

I was told immediately in fact the same day as death on the family member but in the case of my dear friend above who I saw at least twice a week and with whom I spent many happy hours, I was not informed. I nearly missed his funeral and as he was a mason and the church was full I nearly didn't get in. He forgot to ensure that his other friends, like me were told. The Masons were not to know. What he needed to do was to make a list of people to be told.

Few do this. In the case of my neighbors I too was the last to know. I had lived next door to one neighbor for 38 years. I knew he was dying but not one member of the close family thought to tell me that the man I spoke to daily, who banged about doing up his house, who helped me repel intruders and picked me up when I fell off the ladder was dead. I learned exactly five days later from another neighbor, his niece.  I was very upset at the death of a friend I had come to well the word may be misconstrued if I say love but to me he was almost my family.

38 years is a long time but I was reminded that I was NOT family. Again  a list of friends would help. I was not the only one to be disappointed at not being told. Nowadays few read the death's column of local papers that families rely upon. I could easily have missed the funeral and then the family would be annoyed that a next door neighbour of 38 years had not turned up.

It happend again when another neighbor died. I only knew her for two years but as she was terminally ill and we did spend a very meaningful time together. The family in their grief closed rank. All outsiders were kept at bay. I was told nothing. I did not know she was dying and when I asked was told that a mutual friend in Christchurch would let me know.  They did not think that a woman across the road mattered. I was told of the death by a mutual friend in Christchurch.

Again it seems friends however close do not count.

This seems to be the modern way of death. Family who may not have been around for years takes over and close friends are excluded. I do not think this is done on purpose it is just that they have no idea of their relation's lives. I was guilty of this myself when I had to go to Bournemouth on my father's death. I did not invite friends to his funeral because I had no idea who they were. A close friend of his soon put me right and she was quite right to do so!

So my friends please leave a list of people you want informed of your death to avoid this unpleasantness. I shall tell my daughter! Make this your New Year Resolution. It is a good one!

No comments:

Post a Comment