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Over the past couple of months, I attended the funeral of an old friend. I also witnessed the marriage of a much loved family member. Weddings and funerals are a rite of passage not just a celebration of life.

Weddings are joyous events. Guests share in the celebration of the marriage of two people embracing their love and hope for a positive future. At first thought, funerals are an entirely different cup of tea but, really when you think about it, not so different after all. Walking into a funeral home, one hears the hushed voices of the mourners. More people arrive. Greetings are shared; voices get louder. It is not long before the occasional chuckle and outright burst of laughter is heard from the shared memories of the deceased. Family members are trapped in a time warp listening to stories while, at the same time, coping with the loss of their loved one.

Funerals and weddings can bring out the best or the worst in people. People meet others whom they have not seen in years. Enter the human dynamic. Emotions can run the gamut from joy and laughter to down-right nastiness if old issues bubble to the surface.

Both weddings and funerals are rites of passage. Weddings give rise to feelings of hope and joy. Funerals give rise to thoughts of mortality – our own.

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