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A Funeral and A Wedding

This has got to be one of the most poignant things I've ever read. When 7-year-old Asa Hill died after a car accident, his parents honored the young boy's lifelong wish that they get married. And married they did, right after their child's funeral:

The Rev. Joel Miller of The Unitarian Universalist Church of Elmwood, where the service was held, was unsure at first when the idea of a wedding was proposed by the couple and their family.

"I asked twice, 'We're doing a wedding?' This was new for me. I never did a funeral service and a wedding ceremony at the same time, and normally wouldn't, but they have known each other since they were teens," Miller said. "And they had been providing for Asa, and they made a home together for all of Asa's life. ... It was clear they were following through on something they had been talking about for some time."

Hill and Ghirmatzion have been best friends since they were 15 and have been together for almost half of their lives. After Asa was born, marriage had always been something that they considered but, according to Hill, both felt that a wedding was "superficial and not necessary."

Asa, however, was insistent that they make their union official. "Asa really wanted us to do it, and every time he would ask us
we would say, 'Yes, we'll get married,' " said Hill. But the couple never did get around to figuring out the logistics for a ceremony.

While holding his lifeless son in his arms at the hospital, Hill was moved to finally officially propose to his lifelong partner. "Rahwa was overwhelmed at that moment and just looked at me. When the family sat down to plan the funeral service, she said 'Let's get married.' And everyone broke down at the table," he said.

Jean Shin of CNN has the moving story: Link


I think that's more sad than anything else. Like if you fight with a spouse or parent and then the next thing you know they're dead and you regret being mean. Why couldn't they have gotten married sooner?
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It mattered while the kid was alive if they were married. Now that he is dead, what does he care? It may make the parents feel better, but it is too little too late.

When GWB's sister died alone and all but forgotten, the Bushes played a round of golf rather than bother with a funeral.

If you are going to mourn, mourn. The day is not about you, but about the dead. Anything else is purely self-centered.
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Alex, I'm not trying to put it down. I just can't see why it made a difference to the boy whether they were married or not, unless some other influence was telling the boy that it was wrong. Certainly, the couple had been together long enough to be common-law anyways.

I have to agree with emmakate - it's closing the barn door after the horses have left, a barn door that didn't need to be closed in the first place. They had provided for him. As a memory, some people get tattoos, others get married. Whatever floats your boat.
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There's a big difference between self-serving aggrandizement and honoring the memory of loved ones who died.

If we all follow your logic, emmakate, why bother having charity, monuments, heck even tombstones for the dead. They certainly don't care anymore :)

And Ted - the point is that it did matter to the boy, and that the parents did something to honor his wish. Whether or not you, I or everyone else think that it should or shouldn't matter actually doesn't factor into it at all.
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This happend right near me in good ole buffalo,Ny. I guess everyone has their own way of dealing with grief, and loosing a child can make you do crazy things...
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"or everyone else think that it should or shouldn’t matter actually doesn’t factor into it at all."

It does, because this was not a private event, but a well-publicized event. That is what makes me think that the funeral/marriage service was self-centered and self-serving. The media was invited, and now we have to wait and see if a Lifetime movie is in the works.

Is it really cynical to think that this was about the kid and his wish, or about 15 minutes and everything that may follow?
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@felixthecat

That's the point Alex is making, it's not about the one who died, it's about doing something for someone in death because it's something they desired in life. Hell if I care though whats done for me when I'm dead, throw me in a ditch and let me rot for all I care. It's just meat & bone. I agree with the couple that marriage doesn't mean much to people if they are in love, but symbolically it was the last gift they wanted to give to their son. The media grabs onto whatever it can get it's grubby hand on if it's considered newsworthy, which can be a cat in a freaking tree on a slow news day.
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By honouring the wish of their child they can build a future together and perhaps in time start a new family. Man I feel depressed now...but also happy for the newly wed.
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Funerals are for the living, weddings are for the living. Everyone there, with the exception of the boy was living. Everyone got what they wanted. What could be better? (I cried, I'll bet you did too.)
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I met this kid and his father while standing in line at the Elmwood Arts Festival on Sunday, a few days before the car crash. Normally, people receive exaggerated praise at their funeral. But from the 10 minutes this boy was playing with my daughter who is 3 years younger, I totally believe everything they said about him. Vivacious, kind, funny, generous. 7 year olds normally don't have the time of day for tots, but he did.
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I knew this family, and the whole funeral was a celebration of life. I am glad that they could find some happiness and peace in this moment of darkness. They loved their son, and wanted to honor him. Good for them.
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Why did the kid want his parents to be married? Because kids want to know that their parents love each other, and they consider marriage (by virtue of all the romantic/Disney films out there) to be the ultimate declaration of permanent love. Having a married mom and dad also gives kids a feeling of safety and stability.

Eh, that's just my .02
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I am actually a member of this family, and I pray for all of you who are too short sighted and judgmental to understand the miraculous act of courage, strength, and love it took for Amilcar and Rahwa to wed at their son's memorial service (it was NOT a funeral - there was no casket present, and his body had already been laid to rest). Asa was a BEAUTIFUL child, full of life, energy, and love, and the very last thing he would have ever wanted was a church full of people sadly mourning his death. So instead we chose to celebrate his life. It was a moving and amazing ceremony, everyone should be so lucky to have their life honored that way. I am so blessed to have known Asa, and pray for everyone else who cannot open their hearts to understand the sincerity of love that his memorial represented. WE LOVE YOU ASA!!
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Actually, it's traditional in some cultures for a funeral to be followed by a wedding.

I think this is a beautiful way for the family to celebrate.
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I agree with the reason being that it is a tribute and a symbolic gesture. My spouse works with caskets and there are times where it "can" get to be repetitive and lose meaning. But there are people who really take to heart the traditions and meanings to funeral rites, celebrating someone's life after they have passed. If you turn the coin and think if they hadn't done this or even had a funeral...that's the truly sad part. I know when my grandmother passed (I was so close to her), I found out we were having a baby at the same time. It's just nice to see the circle of life keep going. It helps you move on, remember happy times, look towards the future. Funerals and the traditions/celebrations around them are personal, not everyone has to get it. But I most certainly do.
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It matters to some kids that their parents call eachother "husband" and "wife" and not just boyfriend and girlfriend, or even fiancé. To some kids it shows a higher level of commitment to the family.

It also matters to most people to respect the last wishes of the deceased. Calling that "pathetic" is just low class.
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Alex, I just don't get how it mattered to a 7-yr-old unless the parents weren't living together on a regular basis. I wonder if they were projecting their own ideas into the situation, which happens quite often when we grieve.

"He would have wanted us to celebrate his life, not grieve his death" or "she would have wanted such-and-such" are too often bandied about during funerals.

Funny how something that was "superficial and not necessary" suddenly became a "miraculous act of courage, strength, and love". Too bad it took the death of their son for them to realize it. That's why it's kinda pathetic - I know, it's blunt, but I don't mean it in a derogatory way.
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Is common-law marriage still recognized or legal anywhere in the US anymore?

I live in Buffalo where this accident happened, and the story of the 8 car pile-up where bystanders stopped to pull people out of burning cars is still mentioned on the news. I know common-law marriage is not recognized in NY.
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Mmm. I think I know what you mean Ted. But I also know what it means to all kinds of people in relationships that marriage makes it official, it makes it recognized. Makes it more than civil unions. Some people don't get that and well, they shouldn't have to. I don't think it can be assumed how they actually feel about it. It depends on what those two think in the end, not what others think. As it is with marriages in itself, it's always what the couple thinks is the right thing to do. : )
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