Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Funerals and the celebration of life

In the span of a few weeks I attended three funerals and in this misty November it made me pensive. I learned from each of the services, which all three happened to be non-religious memorial services. In one case, I saw the person as a gruff, a bit rude, uncompromising, self-righteous man, yet I learned how he doted on his wife, how he was a kind father and kinder grandfather still, always preparing fun and grand holidays involving boats. In the second funeral, the character of the man shone through in the music his wife and sun had picked out. An ardent tango - they did dance together for years - spoke of the kind of love they felt for each other. And two rather irreverent songs about life and death and yes, it was in keeping with his mentality. I also learned how much he had been there for other people. And the third, a brother of a dear friend passed. The speakers were friends and the family, not professional speakers. Two different personalities emerged from the memories people held dear: from a cantankerous contrarian, who loved jazz and loved discussions. The heartfelt thank you was: thanks for the headwind you provided. And then out of the family's words there emerged the kind, attentive uncle or brother and brother in law, protective of those he loved. He used his stubbornness trying to beat the odds and his sister said: I couldn't have wished for a kinder, better brother...
Goodbyes are hard. Pain mixes in with cold of night and yet life has to be celebrated, their life and ours.

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