Sad Days

29 Aug

With coverage of Senator Ted Kennedy’s funeral and burial on TV for most of the day today, it occurred to me what a strange contradiction this makes for the average person.

Suffice it to say, no one likes funerals when it’s someone they know — especially if it’s someone they love.

I remember when my grandmother died and how hard the day of the funeral was. I remember forgetting my sunglasses in Boston and not being able to hide my red, watery, frequently teared-up eyes. I remember how I didn’t want to watch her burial, didn’t want to say goodbye. How my senses were heightened and could not hear laughter or any lighter-mood sentiment without feeling sad.

So why is it that on a day like today, people everywhere (myself included) find it so easy to sit in front of the TV for hours watching a funeral?

Not that I spent all day on my couch, but I watched a bit of it, and when I was in my car, the radio was tuned to WBZ so I could hear the funeral.

I even set my DVR so I could watch later on, if I chose.

I did a similar thing earlier this summer when Michael Jackson died. Even though I was in Chicago, I still listened to the memorial service on my iPhone with the I Heart Radio app.

A real contradiction

Funerals make for profoundly sad days.

That we make those going through them have to deal with their own pain plus the inconvenience of cameras documenting it is a rather cruel thing to do.

And why do we do that?

Is it because we have no real connection to the deceased that we are able to watch so effortlessly? Is it because of the catharsis of living vicariously through the aggrieved that we want to watch, or is there some perverse — not thrill, per se, but something similar that makes viewing a famous person’s funeral must-see TV?

It can’t just be curiosity.

I mean, can’t stand funerals. So why do I watch?

It’s so strange.

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