Burial is an odious chore
My youngest brother who recently lost his wife posted this. Most of these are clever inventions of writers writing little sermonettes, and this one may well be one of those. It is a little too pat for me. I note that it is unsourced, so I feel free to re-post it. It illustrates a bitter truth to me.
When I have lost someone dear to me, I start wondering if I am on another planet as others laud their memory. My soul goes flat, and effusive comments, while well-meaning ones, grate on me.
I prefer to do my grieving in silence and alone. Death is not something we should love. We should hate it. Burial is an odious chore. I long for a time when death does not exist.
What true love is:
“My parents were married for 55 years. One morning, my mom was going downstairs to make dad breakfast, she had a heart attack and fell. My father picked her up as best he could and almost dragged her into the truck. At full speed, without respecting traffic lights, he drove her to the hospital.
When he arrived, unfortunately she was no longer with us.
During the funeral, my father did not speak; his gaze was lost. He hardly cried.
That night, his children joined him. In an atmosphere of pain and nostalgia, we remembered beautiful anecdotes and he asked my brother, a theologian, to tell him where Mom would be at that moment. My brother began to talk about life after death, and guesses as to how and where she would be.
My father listened carefully. Suddenly he asked us to take him to the cemetery.
“Dad!” we replied, “it’s 11 at night, we can’t go to the cemetery right now!”
He raised his voice, and with a glazed look he said:
“Don’t argue with me, please don’t argue with the man who just lost his wife of 55 years.”
There was a moment of respectful silence, we didn’t argue anymore. We went to the cemetery, and we asked the night watchman for permission. With a flashlight, we reached the tomb. My father caressed her, prayed, and told his children, who watched the scene, moved:
“It was 55 years… you know? No one can talk about true love if they have no idea what it’s like to share life with a woman.”
He paused and wiped his face. “She and I, we were together in that crisis. I changed jobs …” he continued. “We packed up when we sold the house and moved out of town. We shared the joy of seeing our children finish their careers, we mourned the departure of loved ones side by side, we prayed together in the waiting room of some hospitals, we support each other in pain, we hug each Christmas, and we forgive our mistakes… Children, now it’s gone, and I’m happy, do you know why?
Because she left before me. She didn’t have to go through the agony and pain of burying me, of being left alone after my departure. I will be the one to go through that, and I thank God. I love her so much that I wouldn’t have liked her to suffer…”
When my father finished speaking, my brothers and I had tears streaming down our faces. We hugged him, and he comforted us, “It’s okay, we can go home, it’s been a good day.”
That night I understood what true love is; It is far from romanticism, it does not have much to do with eroticism, or with sex, rather it is linked to work, to complement, to care, and, above all, to the true love that two really committed people profess.”
Peace in your hearts.
2 thoughts on “ Burial is an odious chore”
September 18, 2022 at 2:47 pm
The well meaning platitudes have always been hard for me to take. When I was young and lost my father from a heart attack… I was in shock, and quite lost. I’ll never forget yelling at some nice woman who said, “It’s for the best. He’s in a better place.” No, he wasn’t. The best place was alive and with his family. Death is horrible and gut wrenching. Please don’t try to beautify it for me.
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September 18, 2022 at 3:44 pm
I just lost my dad on Aug. 25. I am in the process, with my uncle, to sort thru stuff left behind. We work, quietly, saying little. His absence is eerie but, I have much different views on death and, my relationship with him was strained over the last six years. I have grieved the loss of my dad, somewhat but, I grieve more over what I never had with him…
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