Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Funerals and Viewings

 My grandmother died on Tuesday. Her funeral was yesterday and her viewing was Friday. It's been my first time dealing with death so I didn't really know what to expect before this all went down. But I've been going through the very best that I can. And, after doing it, I have to say that I've come to one conclusion: death is weird. Or at least Western traditions surrounding it are.

The few days after she left happened in a haze. A black haze. Nothing seemed completely real but somewhat distant. And it was moving so fast, so fast that I could barely keep up. I could barely focus and could thus barely process what was going on around me. I almost half-expected for her to come into my life again and then realize with crushing despair but I never could.

The viewing made everything real in the most horrible way. Mom thought that it was "perfect" and "beautiful" but it was anything but to me. Instead, it was traumatizing. It was just too much stimuli at once. So much going at once. I had to see her dead body and I had to deal with all of the emotions swirling around inside of me and, on top of all that, I had to socialize. When all of the gloom in the atmosphere engulfed me, my cousin took me home. It didn't bring me any closure really but just brought trauma. It's such an awful and morbid concept to me and it also seems quite bizarre.

The funeral was a different sort of feeling entirely. It was super cold outside and I was too cold to be sad. But I was laughing half the time as everyone stood around her ashes and recounted funny stories and talked about who she was. It felt good to talk about who she was and everyone thought I did it well. That felt peaceful especially with the beautiful landscape. I'm sure that it wouldn't have been that way for me if we had allowed friends to come or if we had allowed someone to give a service or something like that.

Everything is so strange. Funerals and viewings are just remnants of Western culture, more for us than for the dead.

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