I went to a funeral a few weeks ago. Have I mentioned how much I HATE funerals?
The person who died was a cousin of a close friend of mine and I went to support her. He was 32 and had been killed in a car accident. I had met him maybe twice in my life, more than 10 years ago.
Anyway. It struck me how much I had in common with this young man. He was intense and highly creative and an artist in his own right. He lived in his head. He was searching. Always pondering. WE had exactly the same taste in music.
It also struck me how utterly and completely loved he was by his friends and family. They were shattered and devastated beyond belief. I went home feeling completely drained, got straight into bed and I stayed there for the rest of the day. This is one of the WORST things about being a Feeler – I am like a sponge and I absorb EVERYONE’S emotions.
I found that funeral service very beautiful and moving. The sermon too. The priest focused on the theme of readiness and preparedness, not just from a spiritual point of view but also from a practical point of view. It made me think long and hard, which is ALWAYS a good thing.
So, obviously, I have had death on my mind in the last while. In fact, I’ve had death on my mind for a few months now. One of my parents is currently undergoing cancer treatment, so of course there are things that I am afraid to say out loud.
I am trying to become more comfortable just talking about death. Because generally, just the mere mention of it is enough to give me anxiety. I am actually afraid of death.
My family and I used to be OK with joking about it. My sister and I ALWAYS laughed and told my Dad that he would NEVER be allowed to remarry and that we would NOT approve of ANY other woman in the absence of my Mom. Especially those forward women from the church. I have found that we no longer joke about it (it’s just too hard) and to be honest, I don’t see us joking about it for a VERY long time.
I think that we all know that death is a natural part of life. But, we struggle with it, because we don’t fully understand it – it’s really just such a strange phenomenon. First there is life. Then there is no more life. The heart beats. Then it no longer beats. The lungs fill up with air. And then, nothing. Blood pumps through the body from the heart. Then, there is silence. Darkness. No more pumping. It sounds black and white but in real life when you suffer loss then there’s nothing black and white about it.
As someone who believes in God, I know that there is life after death but I am specifically referring to life here on earth. And truthfully, even if you are spiritually inclined and even if you believe in God, you can still be left confused if someone close to you dies – believing in God and being spiritual doesn’t exempt you from that. You still question, you still get angry, you still curse and rage at the heavens, you still don’t fully understand the WHY.
So a few weeks ago my DH and I were talking about death, as you do when your name is Julia and you have been over thinking things. I told him that I would NEVER marry again because I have no time to be training up someone new, but that I would be having s*x. Not sure with who exactly. He told me good luck with that and that he would DEFINITELY get married again because having a wife is kind of handy.
I asked him who he thought would cry buckets at my funeral. He mentioned A LOT of names and he asked me if (sarcastically) if he needed to make a spreadsheet for me. Sigh. I know it sounds terrible to be seeking affirmation in death but I was secretly thrilled at all the names he mentioned! I asked him if he thought I was weird. He said” OBVIOUSLY!”.
I DO love that he indulges the weirdness even if it makes him uncomfortable. And I do love that, even though he doesn’t talk about death, he is happy to talk to me about it if that’s what I need. In fact, he’s fairly comfortable about it and is very black and white about it – most likely because he has lost a parent.
And you? Are you comfortable talking about death? Does talking about it make you anxious? Does your family joke about it the way my family used to? Do you wonder about how it will happen to you? Do you wonder silly things like who will cry at your funeral?