The things we learn because of a funeral

Yesterday we buried my cousin, he was a son, a nephew, a brother and he is missed. Everything has been in upheaval since his passing. And in taking the time now to reflect, I’m realising the lessons I learned because of it all. 

  1. Death is quick. Between two breathing moments, the end can occur and if for the dying it came as a shock then even more so for the ones still breathing after a loved one has drawn their last. It shocks your core, you reevaluate everything, your sadness is so profound. I truly am coming to terms with how cloying grief can be. Because when you’re suffering and you look into the eyes of someone feeling the same. What you thought was your breaking point, still isn’t it.

  2. Funeral Homes Suck. And no offense to anyone who makes this their business, out of genuine respect I thank you for providing the hard task of this service. But just a caveat, you suck by the very premise that no one relishes having to need your services. And no amount of hard candy offered at your entrance will change that. I do however thank you for doing what most cannot stomach to. 

  3. You’ll be burying a stranger. Your loved one in that box, does not look like who you know. And no amount of restoration will change that. I could not reconcile what I was seeing with who I knew. I touched his body and it just felt like a container that no longer stored the laughter, the wisdom, or character of my cousin. And point blank, I told my aunt, “Aunty, they gave you the wrong body.” 

  4. The soul exists. If I had ever been unsure of the existence of the soul. I’ve very quickly been disabused of the notion. Because like I said, when you see what is presented to you for burial, the reality comes through that to die is to be separated from the body. And what made that person them hasn’t died but just no longer can inhabit the physical form with which they were associated. It is a comfort in some way; to know at least that when they are gone from what you can see that even still they’ll be existing even in what you cannot. 

  5. You are not alone. Times of tragedy just like joy will show you who you can count on. You will know who can be happy with you and who can grieve with you. Never take it for granted because quite often, the same people won’t be there for both. Let it all be a lesson. I’ve learnt the goodness of just hugging someone, sharing a memory or a joke, or even just sitting together in silence. At the end of the day, it just matters that you’re not alone. 

  6. You have more family than you realized. Funerals are like family reunions. You will meet people with whom you share blood and a common history without any prior knowledge of their existence. And in a short time they will come to mean something special to you. Because even when you didn’t know each other, you knew that one person for whom you’ve all come together. 

  7. Death will remind you of life. Especially at the funeral, whether it be the hymns being sung or the scriptures being read, whether it’s the preacher’s word of comfort and subsequent altar call, or if even when they lower that box into the earth and seal it shut, you will be reminded of life. Because you are still here to witness it all. But if you were not, if the roles were reversed would you have been ready..not by the things you still wanted to do, but by all you had done already. 

  8. You will cry and you will laugh. It is said that in death there should be rejoicing. And eventually after the tears and sombre thoughts, you will get there. You will be thankful that though they’re gone, for a time you had them. You will appreciate even more the memories you shared. You will be enveloped by good company with whom to share your tears. And for the death you have gathered, you will see the life still present. 

We will always miss the people who are no longer with us. We’ll be thankful that they were here and hope still that wherever they go to now, is infinitely better. And undoubtedly it is our hope that someday,  we’ll be together again. 


xo. Ginny


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