Sunday, October 30, 2011

Observations from the second funeral of my adult life

Sandalwood incense does it's best to mask the odour, but if you take a deep enough breath you can catch the sharp, earthy, metallic tang of embalming fluid.

There are three distinct classes of people here.

The people who are from the deceased's generation, crying and wailing out of grief, but every now and again flashing a look of mortal fear when they think no one is looking.

The people from one generation below, playing the role of the organizers and pillars of strength. They try to remain stoic by making themselves useful, but occasionally that dam bursts.

The youth of my generation stand about in the corners and corridors, trying to stay out of the way. The slightly older ones search their memories for some relevant, personal memory of the deceased because it's inappropriate to be bored at a funeral. The younger ones revel in their ignorance of any real idea of grief.

The sombre, sober tone of funerals seems to create the perfect atmosphere for business and political talk. If anyone needs to stress the importance of a point they just made they only have to turn their gaze on the deceased and somehow it becomes a profound statement of some sort.

I can't help but question those who have overly dramatic moments of mourning. Is it a cry for attention? Unless you're immediate family you need to let the deceased be the centre of attention for a while. That okay?

Funerals are for the living, not the dead. That is obvious to me now.

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