Up until today my perspective on funerals has been mostly negative…a bunch of hooey and ceremony…and the person is gone already…what was the point? I vowed none of this traditional crap was going to happen when I’m gone. If you want to party and tell stories great! But other than that, don’t bother. I never understood why people would stand around and cry and talk about missing the person? Why everyone says they are sorry for our loss (yesterday’s DoWoo)? Why we don’t just celebrate their life instead?
I was missing a piece of the puzzle.
What I observed today, and over the last few days, were some interesting rituals we put ourselves through when someone we love dies. I’m still reflecting and digesting everything. I’m fairly certain it will be different when it is my mom rather than Walters…so this may require a bit more time before everything has been fully assimilated. For the most part though… what I recognized for myself was this is not about them…what we do…it is all for us. I’m sure we’ve all heard this before…that funerals are for the living – giving us an opportunity to grieve and say goodbye to our loved ones. But WHY?
I did not get it until today.
A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, respecting, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor.
Being there today to hear others speak of Bunia (Nina), remembering all my happy memories with her…the funny stories, her quirks, her love, her kindness, and then one of my favourites…her bone crushing hugs received upon showing up for a visit (as she was overwhelmingly happy to see us) and then again when we left (believing she may not see us again so making sure she gave it her all).
This is when it struck me.
YES, we do this for ourselves…but it is not in a selfish or negative way. It truly is an opportunity to say our goodbyes to someone we LOVE. Someone who meant something to us. THIS is the piece I was missing.
It struck me when Father George sat back beside Nina and spoke of his recollections: how she was always so welcoming, so cheerful for others, someone who said exactly what she meant and when Father George said “Nina was positively negative” and most of the group at the service laughed, I appreciated the ritual. I too loved that about her.
I said goodbye to someone I loved today.