08 July, 2009

Spending on the dead

Funerals are meant to be an opportunity not only to bury the dead, but also as a chance for family and friends to gather for a final farewell to the dead.

So you would expect that a low-key function with a few familiar faces would suffice to give someone a well-deserved exist from the life they used to know.
Often however, funerals have become a platform for flashing rented suits and vehicles, fake designer gear and outrageously expensive caskets that are viewed for a few hours before the coffin is hidden underground.

To many this, would seem problematic because the true essence of having a funeral is suddenly lost in 'bling-bling' and the showing off of the presumed success, but really, is this such an issue?

If a family chooses to spend ridiculous amounts on hosting an extravagant funeral and all the mourners attend in new designer clothes and expensive accessories then why should anyone else care? Nobody said anything about Barack Obama's over-the-top inauguration ceremony or even his campaign which cost over $700, at a time when the US is in the midst an economic crisis. So why don't we let people spend their money the way they want to?

Often we get caught up in judging people by the standards we set ourselves or by our own socialisation that we see it fit to act as experts in the experiences of the world. We call out others for acting in a particular way because it is not behaviour that we ascribe to ourselves personally.
If people feel happy and comfortable in their rented cars and designer suits, is it not their own business.

We can go on forever about the fact that there should be a sense of decorum at funerals because after all one is in mourning, but we cannot take away from the fact that the people who attend the funerals are exactly that people. People, who had a way of doing things before someone funerals such as renting cars for big events and should thus not be regarded as being any less of a mourner for the way that they represent themselves. After all dressing expensively doesn't mean that the person is not mourning.

Funerals are a final goodbye to someone you knew, so by all means say goodbye in style because people die once and thus their funeral will only come once.

Chwayitisa Nandisa Futshane-FJP

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