For many years now I have been both pleased and troubled by the trend of turning funerals and memorial services into “celebrations.”
Pleased because the “celebratory” theme does justice, in a profound way, to the whole of a person’s life and character and resounding impact upon those who still live.
Troubled because I fear it can easily lapse into denial and suppression of the honest, healing emotion of grief.
Case in point: the altogether remarkable tale of Betsy Davis, the 41-year-old woman with ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease who took her own life last week, but not before she threw an extravagant two-day party for some 30 close friends and relatives to “celebrate” her life at her home in Ojai.
There was much to admire in Davis’s decision to take charge of her own fate in sovereign possession of her own body, about as fundamental a right as we can or should conjure in any world where freedom is ...Read More