Saturday, April 16, 2011

THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY

I have this thought almost every single time I go to a funeral or a visitation.  I stand in line, trying to blink back tears.  I get close to the "loved ones" waiting beside the deceased and I lose it.  EVERY TIME.  I cry.  It doesn't matter whether I know the deceased, or the loved ones.. Heck, I could totally not know ANYONE in the room, and I'd still cry.  My nose burns, my eyes leak and I can't say a word over the lump in my throat.  I hold the loved ones close and say "I'm praying for you", I back away with my head down and cry some more as I scurry to the car.

There has to be a better way.  Granted, I am a non-traditionalist.  I like change.  And I like to buck the system.  I question why we do everything, and why we do it the way we do.  <which probably has a huge contribution to why we homeschool and why we lead a home church> 

SO?  Is there a better way for a visitation or a funeral? I totally get that some people need closure by seeing the deceased body.  And I get that people want to "pay their respects" and let the loved ones know they care.  But isn't there another way?

Ok, I'll be honest.  I think one of the biggest reasons why I cry so hard is because I know there will be a day when I'M going to be the "loved one" standing next to the deceased.  While, I'm in no hurry to be the person in the box--that really doesn't terrify me too much (at this point anyway).  What I can't stand, is the thought of being the person standing next to the box, hurting so bad that the person I love is in the box and is no longer here with me.  And knowing that no amount of people saying "I'm sorry for your loss" is going to make a dent in the pain that I feel inside. 

Hours.  Loved ones stand there for HOURS.  Shaking hands, giving hugs, watching people cry, crying themselves, trying not to say something stupid, looking for something helpful to say.  And the people who come?  Stand in line for a long time (sometimes hours!), try not to cry, make small talk with people in line about inconsequential things, try not to completely lose it in front of the "loved ones", try the whole time to think of something adequate to say, feel like a failure when they don't come up with anything, glance at the person in the box, shed more tears, and make their way to the car.

Is this really helpful to either set of people? Maybe it is to some, and if it is to you..then I understand.  You're exactly why I go to visitations and funerals.  But for me--it's not helpful.  It causes a knot in my stomach and makes me sweaty and anxious. 

And always this same thought---isn't there a better way?  It's become my quest now.  I'm trying to come up with a better way. 

For instance today I attended the visitation of my friend, Gordon Cade.  Great guy.  LOVED soccer (that is an understatement--he was buried in a soccer uniform and a Manchester United stocking cap).  Wouldn't it have been more fitting to rent a huge jumbo-tron and watch a Manchester United game? Drink some beers, and laugh?  I think Gordon would have loved that... And instead of having all the kids from the soccer team come stand in line--what if we would have gathered them all together at the soccer field and had a game in Gordon's honor?  I think Gordon would have loved that too.  Not that Gordon or his family didn't (doesn't) appreciate all of us coming and hugging them and paying our respects.  Or even that the Cade family should have done things differently.

I just don't think I can stand there for several hours while people come to pay their respects to the person I love who is in the box.  I don't think I can do it.  So I gotta come up with another idea.  I will still have a funeral service...but I don't think I can do the visitation.  I just can't.  I think I would have a nervous breakdown and say some really dumb things and hurt a lot of people.

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