Sunday, June 04, 2006
It's strange how we need our rites to help us cope with the losses and changes in our lives. We can know that someone has died, but if we have not been in the position to be with that person all the time, it is possible to pretend - even if only intermittently - that it hasn't happened. I guess that's a major function of a funeral rite - because that brings it home, and makes us acknowledge that the person, the solid reality that was our friend, is no longer a part of our ordinary lives.
Yesterday our the ashes of our friend Edgar were buried in the graveyard of the church where he served his last ministry before emigrating. The sun shone and the birds sang and it was unbearably beautiful - and as the casket was lowered into the earth and the soil scattered and then shovelled in and the turf replaced the finality of this particular rite struck me with new force. The Edgar who had been so very alive in this place had gone, and this was our way of closing the chapter. He'd have enjoyed the service immensely, I think - and had a good sing - and the last thing he'd have wanted would be regrets. But faith or no faith, we miss the person we knew and feel the emptiness more keenly now that we have completed the ceremony.
We shall not forget him.