Funerals…

Funerals…

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…are not only important for the dead, but for the living as well in my opinion. What happended yesterday confirmed this.

I started my day early, because I wanted to walk the dogs before the funeral. I didn’t feel well and had panic attacs. Of course the dogs noticed this: Janet kept her distance, and Sam tried to keep everyone away from us by barking loudly. At least the sun fought her way through the clouds (picture above), and we were lucky where the weather was concerned.

Then I hopped on a bus to meet my parents, we wanted to go the cemetery together. At the funeral parlour we were greeted by my cousin, who of course was very upset. Inside the funeral parlour we hugged my aunt – to see this happy and upbeat woman so sad was hurting me.

My uncle was Protestant, but he hadn’t been active in a parish. So a neutral funeral speaker led the ceremony.

I have not been close to my uncle, but I am a daughter and a wife. So I understand the grief my aunt and my cousin feel. The speaker talked about my uncle with compassion and a bit of humor, and I started to cry. I always knew my uncle would have done everything for his wife and his daugher – this is why I didn’t unterstand it when he completely shut us off from his life thirty years ago. My teenage self was really distraught and asked herself if she wasn’t worthy of her uncle’s love. My teenage self also couldn’t comprehend why her uncle hurt her mother so much. My teenage self never cried, but yesterday I could mourn. This was very liberating, my heart flew open and I finally let go of the past.

Walking behind my uncle’s coffin to the grave was  hard, because this was really his last way on this earth. The funeral speaker said the traditional phrase “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust” and encouraged us to have a last talk with him, if we wanted to. Everyone had been handed a white rose earlier at the funeral parlour to lay down on the coffin, and then each of us had a few final moments with my uncle. I told him to “Have a save journey” and imagined his mother and his stepbrother welcoming him warmly on the other side. The funeral speaker then suggested all of us say the Lord’s Prayer; and I think praying together comforted everyone.

After that we went to a restaurant my uncle liked very much. My aunt’s mood changed from relief to love to grief to horror. Horror because some very disturbing things had happened in the hospital before my uncle’s death. We just listened, and this was what my aunt needed. But the atmosphere wasn’t gloomy all the time, we talked about other things and laughed as well. When we left, nobody was crying anymore and everybody felt comforted. Exactly the way it should be!

I was very relieved when I was home again in the evening. Sam greeted me at the door, my husband was home from his his first working day after his holiday, Janet gave me one of her soulfoul gazes from the couch, and the cat wanted to be fed. Everything was alright.

Today I am still a little bit confused and torn between laughing and crying. But I am also proud of myself that I have faced my feelings yesterday, that I paid last honors to my uncle and that maybe I helped a little bit those mourning him.

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