Yesterday, my husband and I attended a funeral for the wife of a childhood friend of his. She's younger than me... she's younger than my younger sister. They have a 4-mo-old baby. She had a difficult pregnancy and was afraid to be left alone with the baby. She killed herself.
This alone raises all kinds of emotions in me. How much anger Eric's friend must be feeling. The fear, the shock, and anguish. And the child... how do you teach your son why he doesn't know his mother?
But the funeral.
It was held at a small town church that's probably been there for a hundred years. There was no viewing or graveside service, just the eulogies and sermons, hymns, prayers, and Bible passages.
Now, this is where my mind starts to go in twelve different directions, so excuse the ramblings that may ensue.
It's been over seven years since I left religion behind me. I haven't had to deal with a lot of death in my life. I went to a total of two funerals growing up and three since I met Eric. The first two were parents of friends of mine; the last were a premature baby, Eric's great-aunt, and this man's wife. I had no opportunity to attend funerals for the two deaths that mattered the most to me - my college friend Shane and my Dutch grandfather. Maybe this would feel different if more people I loved were gone?
The hymns, and the prayers, and the verse, and the talk of heaven and happiness and till we meet again, I mean.
It just feels like you're not dealing with the death. It's like a sad denial. And it doesn't seem healthy or fair to me. How do I explain? I need closure, I need to grieve, to be angry and hurt and broken. Otherwise, I just don't think I'd be able to ever really put myself back together. I understand that people like to think that death isn't really the end, that you'll see your loved ones again, that they're up in heaven hugging Jesus right now. I get that it's comforting to people. I just don't get why. You have to allow yourself to grieve!
See, to me, being told these lines about someone I care about doesn't feel fair. Ugh, I feel all tangled up right now, like I'm not doing a very good job of explaining myself.
To me, these thoughts about an afterlife aren't reassuring, they just make me feel worse. Hopeful... setting myself up for disappointment, unable to really let go and heal... depressing... wondering why you are happily in heaven dancing with angels while I am here, going through so much pain. So much suffering. Without a comforting word from you. Because you're not there anymore, but then they say maybe you are, so why are you doing this to me, this torture? Why don't you care enough to make me feel better?
I feel that the finality of separation is ultimately easier to deal with. Agony, yes. Wanting to see you again but knowing I never will. I can work through that, I can be okay again. But this hope that we'll be together again... doesn't that just make life harder?
I don't want to be remembered with a funeral. I don't want my lifeless corpse put on display and then buried underground. Cremate me and share me with the wind. Celebrate our memories and dance out your pain. Scream and laugh and cry. FEEL SOMETHING. And then let me go. Live.