Sunday, September 24, 2023

Why We Attend Funerals

We've attended too many of them in our lives. During the years of the pandemic, it seemed like funerals and the variations thereof such as Zoom memorials and online vigil masses or services happened more frequently than we would expect. The period of pandemic brought us to a point wherein we all had a dimished sense of shock that would come by when a new name was mentioned as having passed on. The only thing that made a difference in the degree of shock had to do with how close we were to the person who had passed.

Having become a more normal occurence in recent years, it is always good to revisit the main reason or reasons why we attend funerals apart from the physical ceremony of laying to rest the remains of the dearly departed. The most recent one I attended, caused me to think deeply of this because in a great sense, this funeral was surreal. This funeral I attended last Monday was my dear Tita Patching's. Born Josefa Ramos Dizon, Tita Patching was my late mom's first cousin. Tita Patching's mother, Lola Hermelinda "Hermie" Ramos-Dizon and my grandfather, Romulo V. Ramos, were siblings. For those who are familiar with Bacolod and Negrense life, Tita Patching is the very visible dynamo behind Rolling Hills Memorial Park and Rolling Hills Memorial Chapel. She was also at times Bacolod City's First Lady when Tito Monico Puentevella was Mayor.

Having said that, Josefa Puentevella or Tita Patch as we would fondly call her was always there, the very able and ever present one directing the funerals of grandparents and aunts and aunties who have passed on. She was there when my mom was widowed in 1985, standing by my mom keeping everything in place and on sched. She's done this for us in the family and for countless others in the province, and especially for Bacolod City. She stood with us all in our time of grief. That was what made last Monday's funeral surreal to me. She was not there to stand with us in this loss - for this time, the funeral was hers.

I flew in to Bacolod the morning of the funeral and went straight to Rolling Hills Memorial Chapel to view Tita Patching in her casket, and to be with Tito Monico, Nicky Puentevella , Bribri Puentevella , Kalaw Puentevella , Rocky Puentevella and the rest of the family to spend short but meaningful moments of support and comfort during that lull before everything got busy.

As the final mass was celebrated at the San Sebastian Cathedral, I though of why we make the effort to attend funerals.

After the death of a Christian, we unite to do three things. Two are always top of mind. The third is for us to reflect on.

First, we come to thank God for the life of our dearly departed. We thank God in lending Tita Patching to us for the many years that we had with her. She was one who enriched our lives in her own special way.

Secondly, we come to comfort our beloved. This one is the most obvious and often times turns out to be the primary reason for being at such an occasion.

The last is what we often miss out the most. We attend a funeral to seek God for our life, for His comfort and His presence to cover us. We do not just come for the departed, not just for the immediate family, we come for us. We need to draw from the Lord the strength and encouragement so that we can continue to live our lives in this world with confidence and with joy, knowing that in the face of such loss of a person like Tita Patch, we move forward to carry out what noble deeds she may have set as an example for us.

Too many words can be said about how selfless Tita Patching has been to the lives she came in contact with. For me, I've seen how she has stood with my mom during those early years of being a widow. I'm sure those who read this would also remember their special bond with Tita Patching and how she touched their lives deeply.

And for that, 13 hours in Bacolod on a rainy Monday was worth all the trip....we move forward to carry out what noble deeds she may have set as an example for us.

About the Author

Lloyd Tronco

Author & Editor

Lloyd Tronco. Artist. Writer. Entrepreneur. Undiagnosed ADHD. INTJ.


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