Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to go to a funeral of a friend’s dad. There is that collective noun of gentlemen, but, and not to labour the point, not all gentlemen are, if that makes sense. He was. But, and this may be obvious, I think there are two reasons to go to a funeral: one is for yourself, the other, is for other people. BTW, when I say yourself, if it’s your funeral, your attendance is usually a given. Well, unless this is a spy story or similar. 🙂
No, ‘for yourself’, I mean, if you want to say goodbye to someone, or suchlike. When you go for others, I think you go to be there for them. The dead, I don’t think they care one way or another – although we may come back to that at the end – but the living is another matter.
Good words were said, tears shed and after the service, we nipped up to a local pub for the wake. As my mate said, and let’s call him A, the funeral is the hardest part because it feels truly final. The wake, on the other hand, added A, is a time when you share the good things that happened. You laugh and look back at the good times, with other people bringing their memories along too. I know it will be sometime before I forget A’s Dad.
Faith & Death
|Distant star heats orbiting planet / Heaven
(delete as applicable)
No, not an usual Buffy episode. 🙂
I had typed originally, is a death of someone you love, different if you’re an atheist? but I’m not sure I want to play the who-gets-it-tougher game. For me, the answer to that second part from a funeral stance, is quite easy: it’s those who loved the deceased.
As we made our way out of a cold church, and into an even colder Spring morning, I was struck by the fact that both my parents are older than A’s father. In that, I am very lucky. Lucky to have such good parents and to still have them. I found myself thinking that at some point, they won’t be here and, in time, neither will I.
Oddly, and perhaps because it – death, that is – is both at a great distance and yet an everyday occurrence if we look at the numbers. I can look at prospect of death from afar and not worry. I suppose, it’s a bit like looking into the biscuit tin and seeing it full. You get half way and the odd thought pops in, but you take what you need and move on. Give it a bit longer and when you get down to seeing the base of the container, only then, does the hard fact stare you in the face.
To get back to the point, I wondered, what must it be like to have faith, or belief that there is something after this? I struggle to think that there is and I know I am not alone in that thought. If I did a straw poll of my social circle, the unbelieving camp (why am I thinking about showtunes? 🙂 ) would be pretty large. Not that it makes it right or wrong, just that there seems a lot of us now.
My half sister is a vicar and her faith is very strong. I guess it goes with the job 🙂 Her belief that there is Someone Up There seems, at least to an outsider like me, as sure as my feelings that we’re just a bunch of clever(ish) former monkeys, faffing about on the third rock from the sun, in an uncaring universe. When our brains stop working, that’s us… gone. Maybe that’s a bit harsh and just maybe, I’d like to think that there is something for those who pass away…. but just because I’d like that to be true, I can’t bring myself to believe that it is true.
Perhaps, it is best, as A put it, to make the most of the what you have, while you have it and while there are those around to share it with.