On last Saturday, even the New York skies rained tears as we said good bye to my dear Uncle C.
Uncle Cyril expired early on St Patty’s day in the hospital after surgery. Death is like an earthquake, an emotional earthquake that jolts us from our normal daily routines as we unite in our grieving, and sort out our emotions.
The suddenness and shock have different reverberation measure on our personal Richter scales.
Thank goodness for rituals that help us channel our emotions and allow us to continue to function and regain our equilibrium.
We reflect on our loss, and on our personal mortality. For an oasis in tender time, the important come to the fore and the minor to the periphery.
Being in Diasporia, weddings and class reunions do bring us together, but these are usually planned events. A funeral forces upon us a torrent of decisions to make in a brief time frame. For a funeral in Diaspora, some unique elements may come in to play.
When in Diasporia, deciding on final internment can become a major issue. That haunting song, “Green, Green Grass of Home” made famous by Tom Jones in the late sixties came rummaging through my mind around this issue. Being buried in a strange land can have an emotional disconnectiveness to some. This song captures the sentiments of a prisoner awaiting his death, and he will only return home when he is dead and buried: “Yes, they’ll all come to see me in the shade of that old oak tree, as they lay me ‘neath the green, green grass of home.”
Have you given much thought to the geography of your final resting place?
Another of the other major cluster of decisions has to do with the details of the funeral service. Being in Diaspora lends itself to the adoption of a wider berth of cultural and religious values. Family members with different faith perspectives may want their deep convictions to be represented at this life engaging ceremony. This could bring differences into sharp contrast if the departed had not shared instructions or was not a traditional church attendee.
Have you considered detailing final instructions regarding these issues?
We will truly miss our loved ones, but if you are a person of Christian faith, please remember, we do not weep as those without hope. We have a hope that burn within our hearts, a confidence that one day we will be re-united.
Can you imagine the day when death and its gang members will be history?
Let us remember that death and disease can wound, but their claws and thuggery are limited to this side of eternity, and even so:
- They cannot cripple the love we experienced from our loved one.
- They cannot erode our faith in their solid decency.
- They cannot destroy our confidence in their strength.
- They cannot kill the rich friendships that bonded us to them.
- They cannot erase the warm memories of them that continue to live within our hearts.
- They cannot silence the courage we witness in their many actions.
- They cannot lessen the power of the resurrection that will enable the grand reunion someday.