Funerals – The New Social Gathering Spot for Boomers?

Lately I have been going to a lot of funerals, most are friends’ parents…guess that is to be expected, our parents are definitely at that age…but what is weird to me is that funerals have become the only opportunity some of my friends – especially the out-of-towners – and I seem to have for a “social gathering” these days.  Are we really that busy? Or is it just that we are currently stuck in that phase of our “social cycle”? 

College Partying  → Dining Out With Friends → Careers → The Weddings Begin → Baby Showers → The Second Weddings Begin  → The Great Void (Due to Parenthood? Or Becoming the Caregiver of a Parent?) → Parents’ Funerals Children’s Weddings → Children’s Babies (Grand-kids!) → Friends’ Funerals → Your Own Funeral

Social gatherings. Mine have definitely evolved. Initially in my single days, social gatherings were a bit on the wild side, usually involving at least one unhealthy choice. Dancing was a fundamental ritual and the evening was all about ragging on each other and being just a bit silly (and a tad intoxicated). College friends were scattered all over, but we always got together over the holidays – a large group of us would go out to dinner and by the end of the evening, it would be like we had never parted.

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So Many Memories of Wedding Toasts…

After college, we all got entrenched in our budding careers…and that is when the Weddings began. And once they began, they became the new place to re-connect with all of those who had scattered. It was a time for telling stories, which seemed to get even funnier with each passing year. Sentimental toasts from long-time friends. Catching up and relishing some happy time with special people you no longer saw a lot. Oh, I was happy for each bride and groom, but the bigger joy, to me, was re-connecting. It made my friendships seem timeless.

The Weddings finally slowed down…and then the baby showers began…oh, and the second Weddings, I suppose. Then came a “great void” of nothing. No Weddings, first or second. No baby showers. Everyone was off being a busy parent (dare I say, Soccer Mom?) or caregiver of their own parent

Painful passings…but a chance for re-connecting

Then, this new trend began. Quietly at first. One parent here, one parent there. Dying. It was so sad to see the pain in friends’ faces. But then that happened more and more. 4 funerals in the past few months, all friends’ parents. These events were, obviously, shrouded in sadness. But in the midst of the sorrow, something quite remarkable would occur.

In “The Big Chill”, college friends return to their earlier roles & inter-connections.

Hugs, reminiscing. Friends leaving their busy lives behind to support a friend. Quiet chat at the church, but then a side-bar (or actual bar) conversation would occur…chatting and catching up, enjoying each other. No dancing, but definitely a lot of re-connecting. Remember the movie, “The Big Chill”? One of my favorites…and the funerals I have been going to are a lot like that movie… college friends from all over, returning to old haunts and roles, ragging on each other and relishing each other one more time.

So I guess for now the funerals will be my way to keep in touch with my “peeps” from back in the day…until such time that The Weddings begin again, with our children

And the “social cycle” will continue…the grand-kids will be born…and then, although I hate to think about it, there will be funerals for friends…and then, of course, my own end. And when I go? Well, my husband and I recently updated our Will.  In it, we’ve left a lump of money to a friend. If something happens to us, we hope she will use the money to throw a huge party…with dancing, silliness, ragging…and a lot of love. And then the social cycle will begin again, back like it was in our college days of long ago…

 

2 thoughts on “Funerals – The New Social Gathering Spot for Boomers?

  1. Extremely far removed from that soccer mom description, I can attest to the “golden era” of that time when friends met for that “social gathering” and found the greatest pleasure in one another’s outlandish personalities, fostered by #*%@!… and, continued with youthful joy

  2. Reading your article, I feel like you were writing this for me! This is exactly where I am at in my life! As sad as it is to loose a parent, I love that I get to connect with wonderful old friends.
    Caroline

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