05 September 2007

the weight of death

Death has an eerie weight.

Today is Wednesday and we are having our third funeral in as many days, which doesn’t count Ellen’s which was held in the homelands over the weekend.

The first funeral was for a 37 year-old mother of two small children, killed in a traffic accident.

Tuesday’s funeral was for a 52 year-old husband, father, and grandfather who was taken by cancer.

Today, we will help in the funeral of a 51 year-old man, from a very poor family…so poor that we have saved the wilting flowers from the first two funerals to use in his. So poor that we are going to make a donation so we can prepare bologna sandwiches for the family in place of the traditional meal that they would provide.

I have never been stung by death intimately. I have cried through some of Stef’s losses, but never lost a life-long friend, relative, or loved-one.

It seems to me that the casket must be heavy. I wonder if the weight shifts around, if the job of carrying that weight isn’t as difficult physically as it is emotionally. It seems heavy. It seems that it is the perfect representation of the hearts of those who carry that weight.

I will sit back today and watch another family grieve. I will try not to think too much about it all.

Monday, I saw the husband of the deceased weeping with his children. I would be broken too. Tuesday, I watched a son cry as his father was eulogized. I dread that day as well. Today, I will make eye contact with someone mourning the loss of their friend, their father, their brother, their lover. I will try to avoid thinking about it, but I will consider myself in that place one day. And like Monday and Tuesday, I will cry at the funeral of someone I hardly knew. And I will miss my family a little more. I will connect with my wife a little deeper. I will grow older with a little more caution and a lot more appreciation for those that I am thankful not to have lost just yet.

Mostly, though I am not sure why, I will think of my Dad. Love you, Dad. I can’t wait to hug you again. I can’t wait to tell you how much I appreciate you, how much I love you.

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