Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thoughts on Funerals

I went to my uncle's funeral this week. We all think of funerals as such sad, solemn occasions. You often hear people shudder and say, "Ugh - I hate funerals!" I'm not saying I love them - certainly the circumstances surrounding a funeral are never happy. But in many ways, funerals are lovely. At least this one was. These are some of the things I saw:
  • A woman, small and brave, said goodbye to the love of her life while she was lauded for her last gift to him: the unending care and comfort she gave as he made his way out of this life.
  • My cousins - six of them and their significant others - came together to give each other support after a long, exhausting journey though their father's illness.
  • A three year old girl gave up the natural rowdiness of her age to allow her mama to hold her closely for comfort during an entire funeral mass.
  • Husbands tenderly put their arms around their wives and let them cry while they wiped tears away from their own eyes. Girlfriends stroked the backs of their men softly in an unspoken gesture that said, "I'm here for you, and I'm so sorry..."
  • A friend of my uncle's delivered a stunning and unwavering performance of Ave Maria that brought tears to many eyes.
  • The youngest of my uncle's children, still in high school, had her best friend at her side. She held my cousin's hand and hugged her when she needed it most.
  • A small farming community, packed into a church that was too small for their numbers, told stories of the man who was their beloved veterinarian. There was even a story about bull testicles in there, and what would a funeral be without that?
  • At the cemetery, grandchildren sent balloons up to heaven in their grandpa's honor. I saw them looking up into the sun - watching the balloons until they disappeared (quickly - it was windy!) into the sky.
  • Back at the family farmhouse, my cousin sat casually on her big brother's lap. They talked and joked - the conversation was light, but the closeness between them was not lost on me.
  • The earlier generation of brothers and sisters banded together to comfort my aunt. The wine flowed along with their stories, and laughter was more prevalent than tears.
In this time of great sadness, I watched a family and a community come together and help support those who grieved. It was a beautiful thing to witness. Funerals are sad, yes. But the fellowship and comfort that family and friends can bring to those in grief are amazing and heartwarming acts to witness.

11 comments:

Steph said...

I'm sorry you lost your uncle. This was a beautiful post! Sounds like an inspiring family.

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. I've been reading your blog for a while - Mama P recommended you! You share some lovely stories.

Good luck with the moon kisses - I was so thrilled when it worked and peace descended upon our house again!

Mom In Scrubs said...

You've always had a knack for finding the beauty in a situation. I agree - funerals should be a celebration of life. A sadness-tinged celebration, but a celebration nonetheless.

WebGal said...

I agree, this was a beautiful post. You really are a great writer....

Barb said...

It sounds like a beautiful service and I'm sure your uncle was looking down and smiling ~ at peace at last.

Mama P said...

One of your best by far. Wow. I have chills.

Barrie said...

Sounds like the "perfect" funeral. Thank you for sharing.

Debbielou said...

Monnik - sorry to hear your news,I agree with you completely - funerals are a sad time but should be a celebration of life and a reflection of all the good things too. My Mum is Irish and it is traditional to have a wake afterwards - she has already stated that no one at her funeral is to wear black - bright colours only allowed and only happy music to be played !
A beautiful description of what sounds like a perfect tribute to your Uncle x

Mom In Scrubs said...

Hey Monnik!

Go to OxyJen's blog and write a story. I know you'd win!!

I got there from Travis' blog. Hurry contest ends tomorrow!

Jane said...

I'm sorry for your loss, but glad that you had a beautiful funeral to say your goodbyes and witness the strength of your community and family.

Lovely post.

Jess Riley said...

I'm so sorry about your uncle's death...it sounds like his funeral was a lovely tribute to him, though.

Jenster said...

I am sorry for your uncle's death. My heart goes out to your aunt and all the family he left behind.

The best funerals are celebrations. Celebration of a life well lived and a celebration of an eternity about to take place.

Sounds like your family has that one figured out. :o)