When something happens to the fabric of reality
As sad as death is, the reminder that we are all human and will not live forever encourages one to fully live or have an existential crisis. It's also an opportunity to truly connect as a family as so many people live pretty disconnected lives from their families today. Those who choose not to participate because it's too upsetting or will disrupt their lives are missing out on renewing the ties that bind us together and the sense of renewal you feel after confronting what is really important in life and that is our relationships to one another. Lots of food for thought! Thank you!
Beautifully written, and chimes with my wonder and dismay at the thought of the act of killing another human being. How can anyone deliberately extinguish another life force? I haven't expressed myself well, but hopefully you know what I mean
This is lovely, Minna. I grew up with the tradition of the open-casket wake (often rowdy, Boston Irish Catholic-style), so I didn’t know there was anything else! And as you say, it can be very meaningful for loved ones. In my experience, the family gathers afterward, in the morning of the funeral, and has a last few moments before the casket gets closed. It’s a potent “threshold” moment.
One of the things I am reflecting on reading this Symposium is how not only the people who pass, but the traditions surrounding death are also impermanent. My partner’s family still follows that tradition, but it is fading in my own family of origin. I’ll know more as my generation begins to depart.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead is sobering. Talk about levels of tests to go through. Contrary to that, there is the popular "Go to the light. You will see your loved ones. I want to be reunited with my dogs that have passed and some humans too. Hell reminds me of unsatisfied longing. I witnessed my mother take her last breath in a hospital when I was a teenager. I was relieved her suffering was over from the cancer. She asked me to pray a Novena to stop the suffering and go to a place free of pain. I have cousins who own a funeral parlor where we used to celebrate New Year's day while there were "stiffs" in the floor below us. My father thought death could be funny, especially his favorite story of picking up a deceased man and accidentally losing control of the stretcher where the corpse slid down a staircase and through the open door on to the city pavement all the while his wife was screaming, "my poor Dominic." My father said to her, "don't worry, he's not hurt, he's dead." He and his brothers did side jobs for the family in the funeral parlor business. When my father died, a few friends and I went to a carnival after the funeral. It was a perfect setting to remember him, the carny man, who managed the carnivals that came to my Catholic school. I had a grandmother who was hired as a professional mourner at Catholic wakes where she would get the crowd going with her crying and beating her chest. My mother told me that when she was young back in 1919 she would cool herself by sitting on blocks of ice that were delivered for keeping the dead "on ice." She didn't live long enough for me to ask her the details of this but she was the first person on our city block to have an Emerson air conditioner in the bedroom window. The thought that scares me the most is if there will come a day when humans will be immortal. God help us.
I found your words very soothing. I want to click the links but I’m afraid. Maybe in time. Cx