Saturday, April 05, 2014

Reflections on Death While in a Funeral



There's something quite macabre yet grounding about how us Filipinos conduct funerals; where having the dead body of our dead loved one is displayed in our house for at least a week as prayers and novenas are said might seem weird and creepy to most. It somehow forces us to confront the reality that many are quite hesitant to face. Death is real and no one is spared.

As one grieves while looking down at the coffin to stare at the departed's features and recall how they once lived, the moment one raises their head to look around, different sights and smell flood the senses that serve as a reminder that despite death life continuous.
As the departed person’s family members take care of guests’ needs serving them food, other people play card games and mah-jong at the side. There’s chatter in all corners. Kids are running around playing as the adults form intimate circles to talk about past events where surprisingly the dead person always stars in. Somehow stories of the dead person always sounds more awesome when told during a funeral and hearing these stories somehow softens the blow of death.

Having been through this situation numerous times I have observed that these rituals make things better somewhat. It seems to shorten the time for grieving, at least in public. You may cry in private as the thought slowly sinks in and takes root that you'll never see your loved one again but the moment you step out of your little room and see to your guests, tears are wiped and you’re forced to confront life and live it.

I just remember a quote by Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross, “Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.”