But I also offered my services as a photographer for the viewing, service, and reception after the funeral. And she and her family accepted. It was a unique experience and one that I would not mind doing again.
Is it odd or morbid to photograph a funeral? I do not think so. The milestones of life are usually marked with photographs taken specially - weddings, birthdays, graduations. They preserve the memories of the moment but they also serve as a tribute to the person or persons being honored. Yes, pictures of a funeral can conjure sad memories of when we had to say goodbye to someone we loved - but they can also help us remember how we honored that person by simply not disposing of their earthly shell, but with prayer, and stories, and having the world stop for a moment to remember a special person.
All too often, a funeral brings the scarce moment when family and friends come from afar to honor the decedent and to support those whom he or she left behind on Earth. How often have you heard, "It's a shame we only get together at times like this?" at a funeral? Indeed, it may well be the last time you see an uncle who lives overseas or you see a cousin's children for the first time - and photographs capture that.
And speaking of children, what about those who are too young to remember this milestone? My own children love looking at photographs of events and people from the past. At the vigil service for my friend's father, her brother led the Rosary, assisted by the grandchildren, using a large, oversized set of Rosary beads. My friend's little girl, who is only 4, "helped" by holding a portion of the beads - and now she will have a picture of how she was also involved in saying goodbye to Grampa, showing her how she belongs in her family.
My friend gave me permission to post these photographs, as the rest were made available to her and her family in an on-line site that is password protected:
|Fr. Ed Becker, at St. Joseph Church in Santa Ana, CA, who presided over the funeral.|
In the Catholic faith, one of the corporal Acts of Mercy is to bury the dead. We perform this by attending a funeral, by ensuring the person's passing is marked with dignity and love. I have often explained to people, my photography is a form of prayer to make up for a marked inability to remain focused in conventional prayer. For that reason, I consider this form of photography to be a very Christian thing to do, and would gladly provide my services for such.
Thank you, sweet friend, for giving me this blessing.