Phone: 203 742-1450
Fairfield County Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Bridgeport

March 14, 2024

“We are reminded how short life really is, and how we are just passing through. So, all the people you haven’t told you love lately, tell them, and live your days like you mean it.”
— Hal Sutton

A family at a funeralTerry remembers the first wake he ever went to as a high school senior, back when his classmate’s brother was killed in Vietnam. He drove to the funeral home with three other friends in the same car, goofing around, talking nonsense and thinking about date night that weekend … but all the levity and foolishness came to an abrupt end when they walked through the door of the funeral home, and for the first time came face to face with death, the tragic death of a young man who wasn’t much older than they were and was killed by a landmine.

An American flag was draped over the coffin and the mother and father were sobbing, while their classmate sat in stoned silence staring into space. They had seen the Vietnam War in the news night after night, they had heard about neighbors or distant cousins who had gone there, but they had never seen the results, even though they all lived with the unsettling anxiety that sooner or later, they would be drafted and go over there.

Dan also remembers his first wake for a cousin who died young after a long illness. Back then people never really talked about the cause of death. Decades later, he still remembers driving to the funeral home with his father, who turned to him in the front seat of their Ford Fairlane and said, “This is the first time you’re going to pay your respects for someone who died. Get used to it because it’s a part of life, an important part of life. Someday when someone we love dies, they’ll come to see us and tell us they’re sorry. It’s not a fun thing to do, but condolences are very important, so take it seriously.”


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