Funerals Are For The Living
It was a Tuesday. The Oklahoma air was so cold it would take your breath at the inhale. My brother had left us two days earlier. It seemed like a lifetime and a mere second before Tuesday. Someone had suggested Thursday for the funeral, but my sister had more of her wits about her than I did in that moment and had objected. The weather was predicted to be thirty degrees warmer on Saturday. I think the weather was definitely a factor, but I think she believed that Saturday would give us more time.
Who wants to attend a funeral on Saturday? I knew I didn’t. But nobody whose loved somebody deeply ever has a desire to attend their funeral. Yes, Saturday technically gave us a few more days to plan and to process, but the time that I wanted had already been taken from me. I wanted more holidays, more blazing hot summer Sundays out by the pool watching our kids play together and us laughing at some silly joke. But the only time I had left alloted to me was going to be without him. So Saturday it would have to be.
While my brother’s life was honored that day, the entire process of burying the dead is really for those who are left behind. We choose flowers and caskets and burial plots, not for those who are being planned around, but for those who are standing there to see it. I’m not sure if knowing that makes the process better or worse. If for the better, than it is so we carry the remembrance of those we’ve loved and lost into a honor we want those who knew them to agree with. Perhaps though it is always for the worse, because after all the flowers have died and the casket is lowered, the dead’s status remains unchanged and the hollowness of our hearts are all that remain.