I went to a funeral yesterday.
A regular at the bar I go to passed away. He was an older guy, nearly 70, and, like me, living in a country not his own. The funeral was organized by some other regulars. From a distance, an old man dying alone whose funeral was attended only by fellow barflies probably seems pathetic. If I am being honest, I expected it to be so.
A lot of “expat” literature discusses finding your “tribe.” Sometimes this refers to finding a solid social circle in the country you’re currently residing in. Sometimes this refers to finding others, like you, who have moved abroad and can related to many of the same problems you do. A lot of this can be mostly laments about first world problems, but human beings are social creatures and finding belonging is just above security on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
This guy had found his tribe.
The speeches were moving and charming. The service befitted the man. And people, those people who were unrelated to him and perhaps barely knew him, were in attendance. I have no idea what his relationship was to his family, but in his own way, he had created his own.
I think that’s the best we can hope for. That, in death, we will be missed by our family, whatever definition that takes.