A Touching Show of Respect

I just got home from a funeral. My sister-in-law’s mother passed away this weekend and, given that our families have socialized since she and my baby brother were in school, I couldn’t not say goodbye.

First I would like to say that if people remember me half as fondly as they remembered Margaret today, I will have lived a good life, and that’s all any of us can hope for.

Second…the first time I ever saw this was in Tennessee, on the way to the cemetery for my dad’s funeral. Vehicles in the oncoming traffic lane would pull over and wait until everyone in the procession had passed. It was their way, I was told, of showing respect to the deceased and his or her loved ones. What it was was more touching than I can ever express, and it made me cry then.

Now that more people in Michigan are adopting this practice, it chokes me up every time I see it, whether I know the person or not. Today, there were even vehicles pulling over to the shoulder on the highway.

I wish we could see more things like this…showing people, even strangers, that they matter. It’s kind of an old fashioned concept, but maybe it’s time for old fashioned to come back into style. And not just during funerals.

So long, Margaret. I’m going to miss your chocolate Rice Krispy things at the pig roasts.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “A Touching Show of Respect

  1. I remember that happening all the time when I was a child. Funerals were a pretty big deal. I think fewer people typically attend them anymore with how mobile our society is and how far people live away from relative. But it could also be that it’s part of the bigger issue of fading manners. Not sure.

    • I had never, ever seen it before 2003. It must not have been something that comes naturally to Michiganders…that, or I just never noticed. But I don’t see something like that escaping my attention.

      Now I will say that funerals still seem to be a fairly big deal here. I lucked out and was second to last in the procession to the cemetery (meaning I wasn’t trapped there forever), but I could see that the line of cars was at least a quarter of a mile long. And that just seems to be normal. It makes me sad when I see only a handful of cars following a hearse.

      But you’re right about the reasons some people might not show up. Fading manners is probably a large reason. Another though, and I suspect this affects more people than we might realize…is because most funerals are during working hours. The way employers are these days, I imagine a lot of people won’t ask for time off for fear of losing their jobs. I know some limit their employees to spouse, children, siblings, parents, and grandkids. And that’s pretty sad, too. Some friends are closer than family.

  2. I never thought of this either, until my husband started working as a motorcycle escort a couple years ago. The families and people working the procession do notice and appreciate when oncoming drivers stop. So I’ll thank you on his behalf for the PSA.

    Now if we could only do something about the idiots gabbing on the phone who don’t stop at all when they should, several of whom would’ve almost killed my husband if he were a less-skilled rider!

    • Glad to put the word out…it’s something that everyone should do. And thanks to your husband for what he does. πŸ™‚

      As for the people who can’t put their cell phones down long enough to drive…I have no use for them. They don’t give a rip for the safety of anyone on the road…themselves included…they shouldn’t be allowed to own a vehicle (much less get behind the wheel of one). In my opinion, they’re dangerous…and should be treated no differently than someone driving under the influence.

  3. In Calgary, we used to do that all the time. Not so much today, but I hope it comes back.

  4. Karen McFarland

    First of all, I am sorry to hear of your loss Kristy. Secondly, I have to agree with everyone who has commented here, there is such a lack of respect-for people in general, not just in times of grief. Shame on us for becoming such a selfish society. Well Kristy, as I think your message shows, it, the world, doesn’t revolve totally around us. Let’s start thinking more about other people and put them first before ourselves and then perhaps we won’t muddle so much within our own problems. Way back when there was a saying and it went like this, “There is more happiness in giving than receiving.” Ah yes, the Golden Rule. Something to live by. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Karen. I wasn’t really close to her, but did know her well enough to know that she was a really nice lady…and she loved her family very much.

      Everyone is right…a lot of people don’t have respect for others. It’s sad. And I agree…The Golden Rule is a GREAT rule to live by. It’s something everyone should strive to live by…every day. Not just during funerals…though technically the number of people who pull over are small in comparison to all of the drivers on the road.

      The good old days were good, in my opinion, because people did care more about others. Not it feels like an ‘every man for himself’ thing. Maybe if enough of us make the effort to change it…it will have an effect. πŸ™‚

  5. I’m sorry for your loss, Kristy. Hugs to you and all of your family affected by your sister-in-law’s mother. I read this at an appt. the other day and had tears in my eyes. Poor receptionist thought I was stressed to be at the doctor’s! This is a lovely tradition and I’m going to remember it the next time I see a funeral procession. Even though I had tears in my eyes, it was a good thing.

    • Thanks, Tameri. As I explained to Karen, I wasn’t close to Margaret. I just knew she was a sweetie who loved her family a lot.

      I’m sorry you read this at the doctor’s, but I know what you mean. Whenever I think about it…the fact that some people are so compassionate that they’d take the time to pull over for a funeral procession, it brings tears to my eyes, too. Hopefully you didn’t listen to the song. Of course maybe it doesn’t affect everyone the same way it does me, but Amazing Grace on bagpipes does me in every time. And heaven help me if a band plays it during a parade! πŸ™‚

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