death and midlife.

One thing that I’ve discovered myself to be completely ill prepared to deal with is funerals.

I went to a handful of funerals growing up, and by that measure I count myself fortunate that the number was so few. But as the universe rolls on, we creep into midlife, I get older, my friends and family gets older, and the people I’ve surrounded myself move through our waning days, I have started to encounter death on a more regular basis.

By that I mean that I’ve been invited to a number of funerals in 2023 already, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit I’m not sure how to deal with that.

It sounds simple, but while some relationships are clear cut, not every circumstance I’ve encountered lately is so. The father (who I’d never met) of a casual friend. The wife (who I’d never met) of a coworker from half a decade past. Two examples, but I found myself googling funeral etiquette this morning and wondering how to approach these things.

If it’s obvious to you, it is not to me. I’m simultaneously glad of that, and fearful of making a faux pas at a tender moment in someone’s life.