Death, Dying and….Selfies?

What is wrong with people these days? This morning I was scrolling through FB only to stumble across pictures of people posing for “selfies” from a casket. REALLY?  Is “selfie” even a word? Who in their right mind wants to crawl into a casket, snap a few pics, and hop out and call it a “blast” ????? Look, I enjoy looking at pictures of people at playgrounds, field houses, work places and ballgames. I enjoy the pictures of half-naked babies splashing at bath time, dogs chasing sticks and goofy poses from a fun party. But casket photo shoots? Ummmm…NO.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am old-fashioned. Maybe my line of work has made me over sensitive to death and dying. To me, the casket represents a life that was lived, celebrated and mourned. A life that is gone…. someone’s mother, father, son or daughter will be laid to rest in this final resting place…..and it’s not usually a “selfie” moment.

Death. At one point and time, people would hang wreaths on their front door as a symbol of a recent loss in the household. Neighbors and friends would bake casseroles and provide the family in mourning with covered dishes that would feed the family for a week… Drivers on the roadways would pull over to the shoulder, yielding to the funeral processional, sitting quietly, respectfully waiting for the last car to pass by. If on the highway, one did not become aggravated, annoyed and angered by the presence of a slow-moving processional tying up traffic on a two lane road…….People back then didn’t know what a “selfie” was…….

Back then, there were no protesters waving signs of hate and God’s wrath outside of funeral homes, churches and gravesites. There was no need for motorcycle clubs to form a “wall of protection” around the family who simply wanted to bury their loved one. Back then, death was respected, the dead were honored.

There was a time when upon seeing the black hearse on the street, a glimpse of sadness was felt by everyone who saw it. Today, you rarely see a hearse until the actual funeral service….they have been replaced by large SUVs and panel vans. There is something very “final” about a black hearse quietly slipping through the streets…..maybe the panel vans make it easier for us all to continue on with our day, taking selfies and being the society we have become……

Remember the times of seeing a horse-drawn carriage carrying the body of a fallen hero? You could hear the clippety-clop of the horses hooves beating on the pavement, not the shutter of a camera …there were no ” selfie moments”. Selfless? Oh yes….the American Flag draping the coffin demanded full attention…the silence broken only by the sound falling tears from the family…..just not a “selfie” place……

Instead of taking selfies, why not have your photo taken as you scream wildly on a roller coaster or leap out of a plane at 15,000 feet? Have someone catch you on film feeding a stray dog or cat….or helping a person with a disability cross a busy street? Photograph yourself living life, respecting every moment you have… it to the fullest…

Lose the selfies….replace with selflessness’-es……….

JFK Funeral Procession



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