I am sitting in my living room awaiting three of my friends and neighbors to come by my house so the four of us can walk to the funeral of the son of my next door neighbors. I am glad we can go and show our support to two people who are not only mourning the death of their son, but who are the most giving, warm and kind individuals you can ever meet.
I'm also glad to be going because I like the feel of funerals.
Yep. I do.
I'll explain why. I was telling one of my friends who is attending with me, that I am really really good at dealing with death and grieving and funerals and loss. I think that I owe most of that to my parents. My mom and dad, when my dear Auntie Patsy was dying (my Auntie Patsy and Uncle Boobers--yes, yes, I know..talk to my dad about the crazy monikers--along with my cousins Susie and Joey were the extended family members we spent the most time with and were extremely close to in my youth) involved my sister and I in all parts of the process. We knew when she'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We were in the loop about the treatment and the prognosis and all the stages of grief and loss. My parents did not shelter us from it, but allowed us to see them cry, to feel all the feelings that go along with death and dying. They laughed with us when my sweet Auntie Patsy's treatment left her loopy and making no sense. They cried with us when we expressed our fear and sadness and they expressed their own in front of us. They were honest with us about all the unknowns and all the knowns too. And they did the same when we lost other family members. And in this way, I was armed with information about death as part of life. I was allowed to both cry and laugh through it and all of my (and others') feelings were accepted.
I think it's an empowering thing to understand that death is part of life and even as a child, not to be sheltered from it. Loss is awful, death hurts all the people left behind... But, it's there, a part of this wild and strange life... It is a comfort to me, just to be aware of it somehow.
Now, here's the reason I love funerals. At funerals and in other places of mourning, people are stripped down to the barest of who they are. The walls come down, the energy in the room at a funeral is just all real raw human beings. Oh, were it up to me, no one would ever feel the need for self-protection. Everyone would be all vulnerable and bared down to their souls. Obnoxious, I know.
So. That's why I like the feeling of a funeral, I suppose. There exists an hour or two to feel the energy of everyone all present and open. It's beautiful. It's undeniably sad and it can be so painful, but to feel pain is to feel alive and there's something in that that feels powerful to me.
I hope my neighbors feel some comfort today at the presence of all of us who care about them and feel for their loss. I hope they feel some of that real energy brought to them in the form of support and love and grief and sadness.
Anyone who's reading this and also feeling grief of some kind, I hope you can find some strength and peace.