Back to work after attending what I believe is my eighth funeral in as many years.
I think the ritual is very important, at least for most people, to help them mentally shut the door on the relationship they had with the deceased and get on with their lives. The ritual doesn't need to encompass the full suite of wake, viewing/visitation, religious ritual, trek to the cemetery, graveside ritual, and final reception. But I tell you what, I come away more emotionally satisfied and ready to face work the next day when I'm leaving the end of a full Catholic send-off than when I've attended a brief meeting in a funeral parlor.
Must be the incense. Or the obligatory references to prayers for the unborn, which will come as surely as will the Protestant "sinners in the hands of an angry God" warnings to choose the right kind of resurrection when it comes to the listeners' own turn to go to sleep and await the event.
Was much more involved in arrangements this time than I've ever been previously. Medical ventilators are violent things. Coffins, vaults, and related services are expensive. Embalming is bizarro. There should be a website called "remove-your-damn-ballcap-when-you-enter-the-funeral-home dot com." And everyone is unlikely to be truly prepared for the actual volume of legal paperwork afterward.
And so I've spent some time today getting over my trauma -- which can't possibly compare to that of the deceased's immediate family -- by reading up on end-of-life practices in North America and round the world.
Also reviewing my advanced health care directive.