When people pass away, there are things that they don’t tell you to be prepared for. Yeah, we hear the lines of “the grieving will take time, and that’s okay” and “it will feel so strange, and they won’t look the same” and everything else with those inflections that make you just want to duck tape their mouths shut; they’re like a record stuck on a loop and it just happens to be your least favorite album once it play the tenth time in a row. What they don’t tell you is seemingly more profound. And, yes, this is not to make lightly of the grieving processes and he feeling of being numb; they are wildly important, but funerals and death are such a strange experience, but profoundly beautiful.
When someone dies, the family tree explodes. There isn’t a dull moment, everyone is up and about in all the different places from which they come. You hear from those cousins that live thousands of miles away, and from those so very close to your own home. You don’t sit and brood, as many people might lead you to believe. It happens quickly; the prep, the gathering and, ultimately, the dirt to the coffin or the sealing of the urn.
And the beauty. Everyone forgets the beauty.
Death is not pretty, but the processes of being put to rest is a most impressive thing. They never talk about the intensity of family. The warmness, and closeness, that you feel once your all tucked tightly in one room. That cousin, the one that you never agree with, is polite and greets you with the greatest hug you might ever know. Old family feuds are laid down and the uncles that are at each other’s throats during a typical family get together are exchanging their deepest fears and most profound memories of the one that brought them together.
And everyone else – all those people that the family knows, all those people that you remember seeing around when you were little but never really knew why they were at your house in the first place – come out of the woodwork. They bring fond memories and treats. You don’t cook or bake or anything during these events. You are surrounded by the “extended” family that isn’t related that wants nothing more than to hear what you have to say about whatever you want to talk about. They listen and respect, and are like your best friend in those small, fleeting moments.
And the objects – all those things that are not edible that are just so beautiful. The flowers that are shipped in from around the area from people much further. They stand tall, despite their fragile form. They twist upward and bloom such extraordinary colors. They bare notes of such deep rooted love from those that can’t make the journey despite they’re unconditional love for the family, for you. These flowers show so much with so little.
Death is not such a beautiful thing, but it makes for a beautiful event. For without death, we would never know the value of those that are truly there. We would never know the value of those flowers.