I think it's safe to say at some point in our lives we have all encountered a funeral procession. You know, that long line up of cars moving really slowly, jamming up traffic just to ruin your day? In the smaller towns we, as a society, tend to still pull over (from time to time) out of respect for the deceased and the family who are grieving and allow the procession to pass us by. We, as a profession, have tried to make it easier for you, the driver, to spot us coming. We have donned purple lights on the roof of the lead car, the hearse is a clearly marked vehicle in its own right and we adorn flags on the rest of the cars in the procession.
The funeral procession has been a long standing tradition. Pulling over, pausing and allowing the procession to pass is still looked upon as an act of kindness and respect. I, personally, have taught my children that when a funeral procession passes, we should take time out of our busy day and the clutter that is going on in our own heads and give a moment to that poor family who has recently lost a loved one. Stopping for a funeral - what a simple concept and yet such a nice gesture. Unfortunately we are seeing it occur less and less. Frankly I've seen people cut into an actual procession because they are in a hurry to get no where fast.
For those readers who don't know me, I am a funeral director. At this stage of my career I've been honoured to drive that limo, carrying the bereaved family, hundreds, if not thousands, of times to the church and/or cemetery. I want you to know that every single time they witness a car pulled over to the side of the road or they spot a pedestrian pause for a moment or they notice someone bow their head, or they see a construction worker remove his hard hat or someone make the sign of the cross - they comment on how nice that is. It never goes unnoticed. And it is heartwarming to be sitting in the front seat and hear all the comments and appreciation. It makes me proud of my community and proud that we as a society still engage, even if only occasionally, in this practice.
So I ask you to give it some thought... In our fast paced society the funeral industry has resorted to flashing purple lights (yup, we actually have our own colour!) on our vehicles to help draw your attention to the fact that we are moving at a much slower pace than the general flow of traffic. We want to get everyone to the cemetery without incident. So help us out...take a moment out of your busy life and pause, reflect, pray and if that is not your way...well then at the very least stop and check your text messages (at least your head will be down and it will appear that you care)...allow that funeral to pass respectfully. And if you are late for a very important date, then you can simply blame us. One day it will be you in that limousine grateful for the gestures from strangers.