The Student News Site of Marion High School

The Vox Online

The Student News Site of Marion High School

The Vox Online

The Student News Site of Marion High School

The Vox Online

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Infographics
February 21, 2024
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Funeral Wallflowers

By: Sam Williams [Opinion Editor]

Funerals are the one testament to the possibility of alchemy, being able to create joy from sorrow. They are good at helping the loved ones of the deceased to move on, but most of the guests, frankly, aren’t needed. It’s an odd thing in our culture that we pressure people into feeling sadness even if they feel they have no reason to. In order to alleviate this pressure and to make funerals even more sacred (increasing their potency), people should only attend a funeral if they are upset about the deceased’s passing or to comfort those who are.

The atmosphere of a funeral is so darkened by a deep sadness that strange and peculiar things can be witnessed. A funeral is the only time when the busiest and most social people are the saddest people, hopping from group to group to talk, while those who never knew the departed stand uncomfortably against a wall, arms crossed, silent. If a guest has nothing to say, what’s the point of him or her being there?

The most common answer is, of course, to pay respect to the dead — but this is a misconception. The amount of people in attendance is irrelevant; what counts is that everyone who cares is there to share stories and to celebrate the deceased’s life. Which of these sounds better: twenty people attend, all of them deeply saddened, or fifty people attend, thirty are texting in the lobby and trying to think of excuses to leave.

So the question is, “why do these people go if they don’t want to?” And the reason is simple: they are given no other option. People are always looking for reasons to be upset at one another, and not attending someone’s funeral offers some great artillery for combat. Not attending a funeral tattoos a target onto one’s back for lasers to be fired upon at subsequent family reunions or other events. The answer to the question “Am I upset at this person’s death?” should be the same answer to the question “Am I attending his or her funeral?” It’s a shame that this decision isn’t up to the individual but rather his or her friends and family.

In order to comply with its purpose, a funeral should only be attended by people who care and need the comfort. In reality, faking sadness is infinitely more disrespectful than not knowing the deceased well enough to be sad. Currently, the guests who show up for the sake of being there are unnecessary clutter, but they can’t be removed; they’re shackled by social expectations. To make funerals as efficient as possible, people need to consider the purpose of them. As with everything else, funerals should be all about quality over quantity.

 

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