Funerals tend to be somber affairs. Graveside services tend to be held on the coldest, wettest day of the year. Families tend to be teary eyed and mournful. Which made the laughter at last week’s funeral so out of character, but healing nonetheless.
A funeral home down the street from the church asked me to perform a wake and a funeral for an unchurched family. I was told going in that the deceased was a football fan. When I arrived at the wake on Wednesday evening, I saw several poster boards full of pictures from his life. In several photos, the individual was wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey or standing in front of a poster with the saying, “How about those Cowboys!” I commented on that fact during my remarks to the large crowd of family and friends in attendance.
On Friday morning, the family gathered for a private memorial service. Just before the funeral director began the service, one of the family members said, “We need to do a wave!” Sure enough, the wave proceeded from left to right down the front row, and then repeated the pattern in the next row, all the way through the 25+ family members. I commented that I lived in Seattle for a number of years where the wave was created. (It was created by a trumpet player in the band at the University of Washington.) However, this was the first time I had ever seen it at a funeral. One of the family members commented that the deceased would have insisted on it, in fact, the individual was probably laughing right then.