Relationships Society Spirituality

We Live and Die for Attention.

My current job in the Army is to conduct funeral honors for veterans who died. While me and my team waited for the funeral to start, one of the Soldiers said that she wants her funeral to be packed.

Everyone wondered what their funeral would be like before. Most people can name a handful of people they know for a fact would be there like their spouse and children, but other than that we are not too sure of who would come to our funeral. We don’t know who our friends would be, neighbors, or coworkers at the time of our death.

What I do know is that the size of my funeral is not an importance. I’ve conducted many funerals and seen various sizes of attendees. Even before COVID-19 times, most of the funerals I conducted had no more than 10-20 attendants. Out of the dozens of funerals I attended only a few of them had 50 or more attendants.

People should be careful of what they wish for because most funerals are packed for people who died before their time and in most cases died in a tragic way.

Look at George Floyd. Mr. Floyd was nobody famous or someone popular within their own community. Yet, he had three memorial services with hundreds of viewers and had Rev. Al Sharpton speak on one of his memorials due to the circumstance that he died in.

I had a high school classmate who was shot and killed at the age of 30. My high school class of 08 held a gathering for him. From the photos posted on Facebook a lot of people attended. Darryl Florence was a beloved basketball player who led his high school team to post season tournaments.

But the main reason why he had so much support is because he died young at a time where a lot of his high school classmates were still living in the city or not far from it. And because he died in such a tragic manner it makes putting him to rest that much more special.

If Florence had died in his 80s or 90s from natural causes, then he most likely would have his children and whatever family members around attend his funeral. There more than likely would not be any high school classmates gathering because the rest of us would be dead by then, living in another state, or most likely wouldn’t even know Florence died.

We want packed funerals, big birthday parties, large weddings. But, I also agree that it’s not always about merely having close relationships with everyone you know. Sometimes it’s just about having the company around. People have thousands of Facebook friends and Instagram followers just so their life can be seen, not intimately shared with everyone they know.

My wife’s grandfather died like five or less short years of turning 100. His only visitors when living in his nursing home were his kids and grandkids. And that’s how it usually is for most old people. If you’re blessed enough to see old age then about 90% of the people you encounter in life are only temporarily.

If I die of old age then my parents won’t attend my funeral. My sister is one year older than me, but she already lives on the West coast and I live on the East coast. Hopefully, she’ll have the health to travel to my funeral if I die before her. I know none of my high school classmates will attend my funeral. The only one I have talked to since 2008 graduation is my best friend and who knows if he’ll even know that I died. Since 2008 we only seen each other once in 2017 at my wedding. If I’m blessed to die of old age, then I imagine that my wife, my kids, and some of my fraternity chapter members will attend my funeral. That doesn’t sound like a packed funeral, and it doesn’t define how impactful of a life that I lived.

1 comment on “We Live and Die for Attention.

  1. Mary Anne Thornton

    Dear Cameron, I am so proud of you and your writings. Mrs. Anne Thornton

    Liked by 1 person

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