Life on Tapp: There’s a reason why some folk actually enjoy a funeral
Blaise Tapp writes: It’s unwritten law among previously acquainted mourners to decry the fact that the only time they see each other is while paying their final respects to a loved one, while promising each other faithfully that they’ll be in touch very soon to arrange a ‘proper’ chinwag. More often than not, it never happens.
Funerals and wakes are the ultimate contradiction – typically the saddest occasion you’ll attend that month while, at the same time, offering people the chance to catch up with loads of friendly faces that they haven’t seen in yonks. Then there is the buffet and the bar afterwards. There’s a reason why some folk – usually those who are on at least their third monarch – actually seem to enjoy going to funerals.
A long since departed relative of mine once enjoyed the complimentary whisky at one such gathering so much that he was, albeit temporarily, unable to open his right eye, although he did manage to send fellow guests on their way with an enthusiastic ‘hasta la vista baby’. He, along with others of his vintage, always seemed to be at home at such gatherings.
Mercifully, none of the guests at my mum’s final farewell last week had one too many Glenfiddichs, although most of them stayed until the end, which usually indicates that an event is a success. All anyone who has organised a funeral wants is for it to go as well as they had hoped for as it is arguably one of the most important events any of us will ever arrange.
We accomplished our own personal mission last week, which was to send our mum on her final journey with the most fitting of send offs; one which was attended by more people than we had hoped for. The last time I saw so many friends and family in one place was my own wedding nearly 20 years ago – not that I got to spend that much quality time with any of them on either occasion.
It goes without saying that many of us made promises to meet up again soon – under much happier circumstances of course. While I‘m determined to keep my side of the bargain, this experience has made me question whether or not I could be doing more to maintain and nurture the relationships and connections that I value.
It was only three years ago that society appeared to take a collective oath to no longer neglect the friendships that we had taken for granted before the enforced social isolation that came with Covid-19 took hold. I don't know about you but, apart from a brief post lockdown flourish, I haven’t found the time to do even half the things that I promised myself and others I would do once the worst of the pandemic ended.For many of us, we seem to have plodded on as we were before early 2020, which is a real shame because Covid really should’ve been the kick up the backside that we needed when it comes to relationships.One of the highlights of the year so far was bumping into an old pal and his family during a family holiday in the Algarve. It wasn’t long before we forgot about our worries at home and, for a brief while, we were transported back to the simpler time of the late ‘90s. Although we hadn’t lost touch completely, our friendship had migrated online, which is nowhere near as meaningful as catching up over a pint or six.I’m confident that we won’t lose touch again but it is a shame that we have to wait for chance meetings or funerals to remind us what is important in life.