Social and Cultural Influences on Death and Funerals in My Family

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Social and Cultural Influences
On Death and Funerals in My Family

Each family confronts death and funerals in a different manner. Some families follow long held traditions, while others seem to have no such precedent to serve as a guide. At first consideration, I thought it would be nearly impossible to write an essay on death and funerals in my family, because I don’t have much in the way of personal involvement to draw upon. After contemplating this absence of experience, I came to the realization that the lack of the presence of death and funerals in my family is itself, a statement about the social and cultural influences that have produced such a result. In the remainder of this essay, I will discuss the specific influences on how my family deals with death and funerals.

The primary reason death and funerals are nearly completely absent from my family is that we are not very close, geographically or emotionally, as a family. Both of my parents were in the Navy, before I was even born. Prior to my birth, my maternal grandfather was also in the Navy. My maternal grandmother and grandfather divorced, and each remarried, moving to opposite ends of the country in retirement. My father and his family had not been very involved in my life for the five years of my existence before my parents divorced, and were not involved after. Through many military moves, our family has been spread across the country like jam on toast. The only family I know about is my mother’s side; her parents, stepparents, aunt, brothers, and nephews. Not having a large extended family has had a huge impact on experiences with death in my family. Because I have fewer family members, I have had fewer deaths in the family as well. In addition, my family members have not lived in one place for a very long time, so physical roots and ties to communities were never established, lessening the desire for a funeral service.

Of the family I have, the only people I am emotionally close with...
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