For the longest time, I did not appreciate the concept of lengthy funerals and the ceremonial nonsense that tends to follow.
After all, it does not benefit the dead, right. They literally could not care less. If anything, it just adds more burden to the grieving, who would much rather be left alone in their grief.
Now, while I would not discard the arguments I have mentioned above, from my own recent experiences, I have learned how there is a lot more to those ceremonies.
Firstly, grief is heavy. Not everyone should be left alone with it. Some people might think they would prefer it, but dealing with it in a vacuum can get extremely unhealthy.
The second thing that can real hurt you in a situation like this is your own helplessness. You are always left wondering if you could have done something—anything—to change the outcome. Regardless of the answer, the question itself can break your soul.
So, how does one mitigate them both?
By immersing oneself in a series of activities that feel very important but cannot really go wrong.
This helps you deal with your grief slowly and in stages, surrounded by your family and friends.
It also gives you back the sense of control, as you make all the arrangements that are required. It might seem pointless to some, but just the chance to do something and have the results go according to your will can be extremely empowering.
Having burdens you can actually lift and problems you can actually solve helps you deal with the ones you cannot.
The structure provided by these ceremonies provides you with the foundation on which you can recover from your loss and rebuild your life.
It is not the end of your grief, of course, but it is a good way to conclude one chapter of your life and feel prepared enough to begin another.