My daughter is in town planning her wedding. This morning she made an interesting observation: many funerals make a deep impression, but weddings almost never do.
Despite the fact that wedding ceremonies are planned with great care, they end up gauzy creations, hard to remember. The readings, the flute solos, the carefully constructed candle lightings all blend into one undifferentiated haze. One’s mind drifts off.
Funerals, which are hardly planned at all, have far more solidity. Perhaps it’s because weddings are about the future, celebrating hope, while funerals are about the past, things realized. One is contingent, the other known.
In that respect all weddings are more or less alike, because the hopes are the hopes of humankind. But each and every funeral has its own distinct character, laid down in the life of the person remembered.
We live on the boundary between the future and the past, what we call the present. That thin and elastic membrane continuously and ineluctably converts hopes into realities. On one side we have our ideals and our illusions. On the other side, our honor and our regrets. Some of us have weddings. All of us have funerals.