A Reflection on Funerals


 We have had a month of deaths. Special people who made the world different and  people who matter to my dear friends are gone. Mortality is on my mind.

 I’ve gone to funerals before now. I’ve felt that awful sense of helplessness when next to someone in deep grief. Their pain always brings tears to my eyes literally, and then I judge myself for crying for their tears, all the time hoping desperately that somehow my showing up has lessened the burden for them. I have not gone to the funeral, but been there for the afterwards which goes on for weeks and months and never goes away, just transforms into something to live with.

 One of these passing was celebrated as a humanist funeral. I am not going to talk about who had passed, or the horrible grief felt by those she left behind. I am going to talk about how a having a non-religious structure to a funeral helped me. There was no mention of God, no promise of Heaven, just simply that she was gone and we were sad. It was the first time I have ever heard someone actually talk about a death that simply. It was plain,  but it was all about her. There was no benevolent deity also taking centre stage. It was so good to have the ceremony be just about her, her life and those who cared about her. It was a relief to not have to translate God into Goddess or quietly talk to the departed directly under my breath because the religious dialog was going on some other tangent. I was able to listen and be fully present.

 To have the option of a ceremony which is about the human/person is a wonderful thing. The Humanist Association of Ireland http://www.humanism.ie/ have accredited officiants all over Ireland.

 Think about it.

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3 Responses to A Reflection on Funerals

  1. Sophie says:

    Darling friend, you write so beautifully. Grief is such a hard emotion to put into words. Just reading now I am transported to my own personal place, locked away for the most part, still painful after so much time. It has been friends new and old that are so good at just being there… Thank you xxxx

    • thank you again Sophie for reading and taking the time to comment. I know that this blog is fragmented subjectwise, but I’m happy that something I wrote touched your emotions. Painful things are hard to look at in the light, I’m still working on being able to do that. x

  2. Robin says:

    I’m sorry for your loss, but glad you found comfort in the ceremony. My wedding was a Humanist celebration in the mountains of New Mexico, and perfectly reflected us as a couple at the time. Though my marriage didn’t last, I will always have fond memories. Our rituals ought to reflect who we truly are. xx

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