As I prepared to attend my second funeral in a month’s time, and fourth in a year, it struck me that I have begun to look forward to attending funerals.
I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know these funerals have not been of close friends or family, that these people were well-loved and deeply mourned, and that I took no unnatural delight in death but shared a sip of sadness with those present.
As a singer, I received the task of figuring out enough of these near stranger’s stories so that I could choose songs to sing that memorialized an important aspect of who these people had been in life – an opera aria, a Scottish song…
It’s the stories I look forward to hearing, the way a song and a tale of how the eighty-six year old man climbed his roof after Hurricane Sandy to replace a shingle brought a person I’d barely known into vivid 3D life.
I noticed that the funeral where only one person told a remembrance drew as bright and as real a picture as the funeral where ten people paraded to the mike to share stories of the departed.
As a writer, I learned that I can take a leap of faith and bring my characters to life with a few strokes. It’s not necessary to obsess over a myriad of little details and the obsession distracts me from what I’m really here to do, tell the story.