A group of my female friends are tired of being stuck in the house during funerals while their boys hang out at the shops and do fun things.
Report by Grace Mutandwa
The girls want to know why it is cool for the boys to visit the local bottle store and swap war stories while the girls alternate between cooking, serving food and wailing like banshees. And they do not want the usual spiel about tradition this or tradition that!
Why is it all cool and dandy for the guys to stroll around in controlled emotion while women are expected to wail in show of pain and grief?
If a woman does not cry, she is labelled cold or a witch. And if tradition is so important, why is it that men who lose wives can remarry as soon as they can no longer bear living without a moving cooking, laundry and cuddling machine while women are expected to grieve for a year?
Is it really necessary to have a bunch of women thrashing about in feigned grief while the men get on with their lives?
Why do widows have to be stuck at the head of the corpse, but when a woman dies the husband gets to sit outside with his buddies? For all we know the reason why most men quickly remarry might be because while all the women are stuck in the house wailing, the widowed man and his buddies are busy going through their little black books trying to hook up the “grieving” hubby with some hot mama!
I get grief, but what I do not get is the need for whole extended families to hurl themselves into group mourning therapy even when they hated the guts of the dead relative.
Wouldn’t life be easier if we were a bit more honest? I am not saying that you should insult someone or say nasty things about the dead, but do we really have to lie? If someone is dead, they are dead — period!
There are films that bring tears to my eyes but I really find it difficult to cry at every funeral I attend. If I am not close to the person, I just feel faking it is the worst thing I could do at someone’s funeral. I get faking orgasms — many women play that card once-in-a-while (and it is a humane act, it protects men’s egos) — but faking tears is really beyond me.
Society burdens women
My friends are right, there is way too much pressure put on women by society to feel things that we sometimes do not feel or do not even want to bother feeling. The reality is that people die and when they do, we must celebrate their lives and not sink into rivers of tears.
There are some churches now where people are encouraged to pray for their dearly departed and not shed buckets of tears. Apparently, these churches believe that too much crying will place hurdles along the departed’s road to heaven. Unless your relative was an Olympic hurdles champion, my advice is that save your tears and find something fun and respectful to remember them by.
But of course my friends have also pointed out that sometimes those women who cry at their own weddings are the very same ones who wail and thrash about when their spouses die.
At their weddings they either cry out of genuine happiness or because they suddenly realise they are about to lose their independence or they have made a terrible mistake but are too scared to back out.
When the husband dies, the tears might represent real grief or great relief and pure joy that they are free at last!
I am a ruddy realist and will be the first one to face up to the simple fact that by the time one spouse dies, most couples will have been transformed into two strangers sharing bills and helping each other raise children. So if you catch my drift — it really would be hard to shed tears for a stranger, even one that you occasionally shared body heat with.
When I die, my friends will have at least one funeral where they will not have to fake anything!
I love good wine, good scotch and good food, so with that little lot thrown together and of course good music I expect them to have a party.
Crying at my funeral would suggest that they actually wanted me to stick around until I was 250 years old and that is really not cool. I am nice to people I love or like, but I really do not bother with those I have nothing to do with and so because of that, I do not feel compelled to attend every funeral.
The girls are also tired of it being mandatory for them to attend every extended family funeral. My feeling is that the girls just need to take control of their lives. Put your foot down and refuse to be turned into an unwilling funeral director or professional mourner!
Before you are guilt tripped into attending every funeral on the block, ask yourself if you really knew the person, got along with them or better still, do you even remember how they look or how you are supposed to be related to them?
I know apart from pretending to be a nice person, we sometimes have this uncontrollable urge to attend a particular funeral just to make sure the person is really dead.