Thursday, May 10, 2007

Just back from the funeral...

Just got back from my friend’s son’s funeral. Very sad. I attended the open casket wake last night as well.

The funeral was a Catholic mass, all in Spanish. So many mourners, very emotional. Watching the family walk in with the casket, seeing the holy water sprinkled, hearing all the music—it was all so moving. I know people find comfort in these rituals. They tie you to a larger purpose and history that extends beyond one’s own life. I hadn’t been to a service with incense and communion for many years, so it was instructive to see it in action again.

My friend got up to speak about his son. I’d never heard him speak in his native language before. He was so strong, commanding even. When I talk with him, there’s often a language barrier, although I know he’s very intelligent and an astute businessman. I gained a new appreciation for him seeing him speak so fluently and expressively through his pain. He was clearly giving a direct message to his family and friends in tribute to his son and about the value of strong relationships.

Fellow blogger Chris shared a poem yesterday I’d like to put here as well, because it’s so apropos:

Death is nothing at all
Henry Scott Holland 1847-1918, cannon of St Paul’s Cathedral

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together
is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort,
without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.
All is well.

All is well. God bless, everyone.


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1 Comments:

At 5/14/2007 10:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an awesome poem, Laura! Thanks for sharing it.

I recently attended a memorial service at the Unity church that I go to. I would have loved this poem to have been read.

I've passed it on to the minister for her to use in the future.

Thanks for the reminder!
John

 

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