Saturday, March 03, 2007

Grief, laughter, and the weight of both...

We attended another funeral today.

This is the second in 7 months, and I gotta tell you, I'm not getting any better at them. This is one of those life events that we all go through, and yet we never seem to get good at them. Whatever "good at them" would mean.

The interesting thing that I am discovering about attending the funerals of family, friends, and family OF friends is this: the weight of every other loss comes up. And the memory of each funeral is pulled out of the portion of my brain that houses the category:

family and loved ones, funerals of. See also: death, grief, melancoly

So, as I sit in the funeral home chapel, watching a friend grieve the loss of her 22 year old son, my mind recalls my sister-in-law, grieving the loss of her baby girl...my dad, the loss of a brother--and then another brother...a friend, losing her mother...a friend, the loss of his wife...another friend, also losing his wife...myself, grieving the loss of one parent, and then another. At a funeral, it feels like a heavy burden.

So that's where the laughter comes in.

Today, the grief was overwhelming in that chapel. And then my dad got up to speak. He had known this young man well and was asked by the family to share some thoughts. As is his way, he began recounting silly and irreverent stories about this young man. The spirit lifted and I could see the weight of grief temporarily leave the family and friends as they were caught up in the life and spirit of this man, as opposed to his death. There was laughter through tears and it was wonderful. The weight became one not of grief--but of carrying the love and memories of someone that was special, and honoring that. Even though the grieving has just begun for this family, they were shown in that moment how to ease their pain and soften their heartache.

The weight of grief and the weight of laughter are gifts. Each one reminds us that we lived, loved, and mattered to each other.

3 comments:

Mellocat said...

Ain't it the truth...

txmommy said...

funny how that is...

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

The best (best?) funerals are ones where people can laugh. They're such sad times anyway. It's so great that we know where our loved ones are, and that we'll see them again, and we can get away from the "ashes to ashes and dust to dust" stuff and remember the happy, good, funny times with the deceased and even incorporate them into their funerals. It's a gift indeed.