I was thirteen years old when I went to my first funeral. My father’s youngest sister, Freda, died suddenly from an aneurysm at age 30. She was the cool aunt, rebellious and artistic, the family's black sheep. When we arrived at her viewing, I waited my turn to see her, not willing to look until we walked up to her body. My reaction was what you would expect: I burst into tears, overcome with the loss. My father pulled me into the hallway of the funeral home and leaned in, looked me directly in the eyes, and said, “You can’t cry. They need us. You have to be there for them.” The “they” was my family, my mother, sisters, aunts, and grandmother, widowed and already burying the second of her eight children.