What Could Weddings and Funerals Possibly Have in Common?

paula-kurkowskiPost written by Paula Kurkowski, VP/Director of Compliance at Stockman Bank of Montana

Q: What could weddings and funerals possibly have in common?

A: F A M I L Y

First, there was the string of weddings.

For a few years in a row, cousins were getting married left and right. We all eagerly awaited the next wedding, knowing it would be an exciting time full of laughter and the making of good memories.

Someone always celebrated with a little too much champagne and the littles got to dance (and run wild while laxly attended) at the reception. And the celebration usually lasted long after the happy couple departed on the honeymoon of their dreams.

Then lately it’s been funerals.

We’ve had the unfortunate opportunity to lose two beloved men in our family over the past couple of years. These men were fathers, brothers, grandfathers, uncles, sons and husbands.

Family again gathered for days, this time sad and somber. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room while we watched their life stories unfold on a video screen while their favorite music, tenderly selected by the family, streamed overhead. The eulogies brought to mind the loving and rich life led by each man. Then the tears fell for the future they wouldn’t see. This was our last time to say goodbye before they were forever laid to rest. It’s a sad time to be sure.

But later, you reflect. After the family has gone home and all is quiet, you think about the week of the funeral and realize it wasn’t all sad….no, there was something else. You can’t quite name it, but then you realize it was … pleasant. It was also a bit peaceful, and even gratifying.

How can this be?

Larry and Gary

Larry Kuchynka (left) and Gary Kuchynka

Well, there were the stifled giggles and sighs as the family reflected on memories remembered while selecting pictures for the bulletin board. Then there were silent tears.

Then there was the out-and-out laughter, such as the discovery of the picture of two brothers clad in gaudy 70’s era leisure suits with bushy long hair and pork chop sideburns. (The younger generations can’t believe they actually dressed like that!)

And the littles? Well, they don’t understand why they won’t see their loved ones again. They just know that they went off to live happily every after in a place called Heaven.

You think they’re immune to the pain since they’re running and playing with outwardly not a care in the world, until one sweet four-year-old girl interrupts a bereaved spouse and softly asks, “Oma? (Grandma) Is there something of Opa’s (Grandpa) that I can take home with me so I can always remember him?” A “Yes I think we can find something (sniff)” from Oma. Then it’s a quick hug for Oma, and right back to playing.

We’ve been told life is an emotional roller coaster and we should enjoy the ride. But the ups and downs are extreme at times so how are we to survive this ride?  With family by our side of course.

Today is a good time to be grateful for your family and the comfort and peace they bring you.  Don’t wait for weddings or funerals to spend time together and be sure to let them know how much you love them and appreciate them.