Saturday, March 17, 2012

Respect for the Dead

I am not reviewing anything today.  Instead of going to the theatre or the cinema I attended two funerals.  Two separate sets of friends lost their mothers this week. In spite of the truly beautiful weather it was a sad, solemn and sobering week.

At my age, this is fairly normal.  I have many friends dealing with elder care or dying parents: some are dealing with teen-aged children and elder care simultaneously.

My own father passed away three years ago.  I think of him everyday and often wish I could speak to him. Thankfully my mom is fine and we speak every week.

My father is interred in St. Charles Cemetery.  His father, his mother, his grandmother and many of his relations are there. It is next to the Catholic church where he served as an altar boy and across from the convent where both he and his mother went to school.  The land the church is built on was donated to the church by my family.

My father was very stylish and elegant, as were the two women who died this week.   None of those people of another generation would have dreamed of attending a funeral in other than a suit or in the case of the ladies, perhaps a conservative day dress and a cardigan.

This probably makes me quite old-fashioned but I was shocked to see men without jackets and women in tight pants tucked into boots  and cocktail attire complete with stilettos, textured hose and bare cleavage at a funeral. If it had only been the twenty year-old crowd dressed this way, I would have understood, but it was people my age who ought to know better.  People, this is not a bar on Friday night.

My father always noticed what people wore.  I felt his burial was the last time I would dress for him and I chose my black day dress with great care.  One of the ladies whose funeral I attended this week was one of the most elegant women I have ever known. I wore a suit out of respect for her.  I know if it had been the other way around, she'd have done the same for me.

The last thing we do for the dead is attend their funeral.  It is not the place to show how hot you still are.   I know standards of formality are more relaxed than they were, but out of respect for the dead, I'd like to propose men and women my age cover up and dress like grown ups not  kids at a club at least when attending a wedding, a funeral or a job interview. Moreover, they might teach their children to do likewise.  If  I sound like a grumpy old lady, I'll take the rap.  Most of the people I know with any standards of dress are dying like flies and someone needs to hold up the side.

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