This came in the mail yesterday with a pile of ads, a few bills and a few catalogues. It caught my eye so instead of relegating immediately to the trash can which is where most "mail" goes these days, I held it aside to check out later as I was in the midst of a few other tasks.
It was the word "Trivia" that grabbed me. I love trivia. I used to play Trivial Pursuit fairly regularly with friends and the kids. Even loosing was okay because we were all learning things and I do love to learn stuff. I haven't played in a long time, in fact, we do not even own the game anymore. It was sold at the giant yard sale with all of our other games before we moved here. But the idea of it definitely sparked some interest.
While I was finishing up my other chores I wondered who was sponsoring this Trivia Night. A local church maybe? The town? Some Venice Business? Well yeppers on that last guess. When I finally sat down and looked closely at the oversized postcard I saw that this Oh So Fun night of Trivia was sponsored by and held at Farley Funeral Home and Crematory. What?
Well hmmm. Fact is, it is a rare week indeed that I do not receive some unsolicited letter or postcard or invitation regarding funerals, 'final expenses', skilled nursing homes and/or getting myself "right with God". Apparently, age-wise I have crossed some sort of line which triggers this sort of mail. It all goes right into either recycle or, if I'm in a mood, the shredder. I am not offended by it usually but this time I certainly was surprised.
Now I understand that funeral homes, crematories and the like are businesses and as such, they need to advertise, be competitive in the market, get their name out there. Of course they do, just as restaurants and barber shops and dry cleaners do. But there is just something that strikes me a little unsettling about a funeral home holding a Trivia Night (complete with snacks and refreshments according to the invitation)
Bear in mind here that at one time I worked at a Hospice. It was quite some time ago now when the entire concept of Hospice was a new one and a difficult "sell" to the public. Getting out the word on what exactly a Hospice as and how it worked was difficult. It's a topic that must be dealt with gingerly and with great respect. In our culture, death and it's related topics are nearly taboo. We just don't talk about it much. I know people, my age and older, who do not have Wills written because they are so uncomfortable with the idea of their own mortality that they have just avoided it entirely.
It would have been so much easier to introduce the concept of Hospice to the area it served if death, dying and grief were a more comfortable conversation. More people would have been properly cared for, their survivors supported better and the communities as a whole more fully served. Even the Hospice Pastor confided to me one day that the training priests receive regarding caring for the dying and their families was woefully lacking. It took a lot of specialty training to staff the organization and it took even more time to educate the community. So I applaud the effort to being made by this funeral home.
It happens to everyone, eventually, after all. Death is a part of life. The last part, I'll grant you, but still, it shouldn't be a subject that people whisper about in dark corners. There should be honest and open communication and definitely some planning involved.
That said, I'm not sure that holding Trivia Nights at the old funeral home is the way to go about it. I applaud their efforts but I wonder how many people will show up for game night? Maybe I'm wrong. It's not unprecedented after all. Would you be comfortable going to a funeral home for a game night? Just feels a little undignified and there is always an aura of dignity and respect in any funeral home I've ever entered. I think that should be preserved. Just my feeling on the matter.
What do you think?
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.