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Funerals/Memorial Services
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Next week we are going to a memorial Mass for a high school friend of my significant other; the deceased was a person I never met in life. Afterwards there will be a moveable feast of gatherings at 2 or 3 homes, sort of a peripatetic wake.

I don't like going to funerals, viewing bodies, attending interments, even for people of my acquaintance or for colleagues, though I will usually attend out of respect for the living, the survivors. (The same thing goes for retirement parties, by the way).

In the case of next week's observence, however, I am going to try to find some way to manage to provide the chauffeur service for my sig other, but engage in some other activity while he is attending the Mass.

The deceased was one of his dearest friends, he says, though I know for a fact that they had met in person only 3 times in the last 17 years and had exchanged Christmas cards 5 or 6 times. The only time there was a conversation of any length was when sig other wanted to get free legal advice from the dearly departed. Professional courtesy, he said, when I commented that it would be nice to offer to pay him and to consult during office hours.

This incident leads me to reflect on the definition of friendship. Maybe it's a gender thing--women see friends as people who share your life and theirs, provide support in times of stress, and rejoice with you when life is good. For men, it's more of a tangential relationship, peppered by establishment of status and rankings, competition and conspicuous consumption (He has a boat, so I have to have one, too. My boat is bigger than his.).

I'd be interested in your thoughts.

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