As you get older you begin to attend more funerals. Similarily, you tend to take more of in interest in news, blanket statements maybe but reasonable enough.
We attend more funerals because our older relatives start to pass away and we also have friends or work mates who expire before their due date. We start to take more interest of the deaths section in the local paper, which isn’t healthy but seems to be a fairly popular activity for some. We can’t avoid death but we can try to avoid an early, nasty or inflicted death. Now isn’t this a jolly article?
I’m more interested in a phenomenon which is quite puzzling and more than slightly hypocritical. Why do we turn into angels when we die? I’m don’t mean we head straight from our deathbed to the pearly gates get handed a harp and grow wings sort of angel. Oh no. I mean the glowing, obituaries and eulogies, which describe us as angels.
Dead people are remembered in a very positive way even if they were pretty horrible and bad when they were alive. Now by bad I don’t necessarily mean murders, terrorists, paedophiles etc. I mean people who were not nice. Maybe they were one or more of the following – aggressive, obnoxious, grumpy, nasty, mean, arrogant etc. etc. although maybe not all at the same time and all the time. You know. The sort of people who aren’t good neighbours, or are mean spirited or loud, rude, inconsiderate. Add your own descriptors, as you deem appropriate.
I can’t recall a single obituary or eulogy, which included a negative element. So in death we are referred to as if we were angels. Now that’s kind of strange wouldn’t you say? So apart from the, mass murderers, terrorists, paedophiles etc. we are all angels? Hmmm…
If you are bad you go to Hell after you die. Okay a lot of us don’t believe there is a Hell but again lets just suspend our views and for this article accept that Hell exists. Maybe Hell is a terrible place to go because there’s hardly anyone there, so there’s no one to talk to and it’s solitary confinement, because you can’t find anyone else to talk to for all eternity. Not as dramatic as burny fire, granted, or as painful but still pretty unpleasant. (There is a place in California called Burney and the Burney Fire Department exists, I kid you not).
Obviously, the need to sanitise dead peoples life’s is based on sparing the relatives and perhaps, it’s like a sort of club to which we all belong. We all agree, without speaking about it, not to say anything negative about people when they die, whether they deserve it or not (at least in public anyway). That way we hope we’ve done enough for our obituary or eulogy to be positive and bereft of our less endearing traits.
Is this why we turn into angels when we die?