Twenty years ago was a horrific time in my life. Family and friends were dying. I found myself turning into a professional mourner. If I were to list the many people who had passed on, one may believe I was exaggerating. Death was everywhere and the toll it took was overwhelming. At the time I was not aware of the many little deaths I was suffering as I paid my final respects.
After travelling to the East Coast for a funeral, I vowed to never attend another funeral unless the person was an immediate family member or friend. Dark thoughts were crowding my brain as I tried to make sense of the deaths that were clouding the skies. Death is a part of living, but it’s not healthy for the living to cloak themselves in death. Paying respect to someone who is no longer here to witness you and your flowers is a cold way of painting a reality, but it’s true. Giving solace and comfort to the ones the deceased left behind is the purpose of a funeral or a memorial. Twenty years ago I was not cognizant of that aspect of the funeral. I was focused on me and my mortality.
The last funeral I attended was a personal and gut wrenching loss of a loved one. As I look back at that moment in my life, I realized that the funeral did not offer me an ounce of solace or comfort. For those of us who were close to the deceased, the funeral felt false and awkward. It was a distraction from the pain. So it makes me contemplate the true purpose of this ritual. Does a funeral/memorial really help bring closure? Can quiet contemplation and an intimate goodbye soothe the broken-hearted? These are my thoughts as I look back on dark days.