Saturday, September 24, 2005

You have to laugh.

Or at least,I think you do.
Yesterday, I was due to bury the ashes of a gentleman whose funeral I conducted a few weeks ago. I’ve been seeing a fair bit of his widow, a member of the congregation whose slightly demented demeanour belies huge stocks of wisdom and thoughtfulness. BUT she is deafer than the proverbial post. This matters not a jot when we are bellowing about our eternal destinies in the privacy of her home, but as we waited for her husband’s ashes in the churchyard, things felt rather different. At one point the exchange went something like this (all at the tops of our voices)
Widow “I don’t know why some people make such a fuss about where their bodies end up. It’s only packaging after all”
K “Yes, but it’s been precious, much-loved packaging. Sometimes it’s hard for people to see beyond it”
Widow “All the same, I think it’s very selfish. Grief is very selfish, isn’t
it Kathryn? Don’t you think so?”
K (trying to work out correct pastoral response, when surrounded by other members of the family who are visibly grieving…but knowing full well that any reasoned discussion about us all having different ways to handle such things would sound utterly ludicrous when offered fortissimo)
“Ummm………oh look, there’s the funeral director. Shall we get on with the service…”
The whole situation was compounded by the hammering of workmen on the church roof, (so normal conversation was tricky even for the sharpest ears)…and by the fact that a 2 year old great granddaughter was attempting a “Full Monty” performance on a low set table tomb throughout. Her mother remained impassive until the nappy, and our verger was nearly ill with suppressed laughter. Good to know that we made someone happy!


mibi52 said...

Oh, my goodness, thank you for the laughter, Kathryn! You have no idea how much I needed that today!

As Lay Eucharistic Minister, I used to bring the Eucharist to an elderly lady - also very deaf - in a nearby nursing home. Conversations and prayers as well had to be very loud if she was to participate. One Sunday afternoon, one of the nurses' aides spoke to me snarkily as I was leaving her room, "We don't ALL need to hear this, you know." All I could say was "Sorry", but I thought, that if that was her attitude, maybe she DID need to hear it...

Jaybe said...

Just wanted to share with you that I agree with your widow that "grief is selfish,isnt' it."
As a recent widow I can relate so well to this. The loss of someone causes a deep wounding of the heart and spirit that takes time to heal and, just like a "medical" wound does, it causes us to turn inwards to focus on the pain to the exclusion of everything else for a while. Your widow is obviously very a perceptive person and is already moving along on her grief journey. May God bless her in her grief work. :-)

Kathryn said...

Thanks for that Jaybe...and love and prayers to you as you make the same journey.