Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Funerals are for the Living

I've been oddly silent this week, primarily because I've had a close family friend pass away. Sometimes the creative juices just get sluiced away when reality strikes, and I apologize for my absence.

Attending the funeral made me realize that the old adage that funerals are for the living is quite true. I find that in these moments of loss I am quite selfish.

And as I sat in the funeral home weeping with my friends and family, my mind was racing, screaming at myself not to be so selfish, not to be so weak. There are others who were closer to the one we lost. Their loss is greater. Why should I cry? But the more I berate myself internally to quit crying, the more I cry, until whatever triggered the tears in the first place is long over and I'm the only one left with red eyes and sniffles.

While I am sad about this death, I know he lived a full and exciting life. I have many, many happy memories to make me smile. Still, I cry. The tears are not for the dead, because they are beyond this world now. We cannot touch them. No, the tears I cry are for myself, for my loss, and for the fear of future losses.

And somehow it grows more and more difficult with every loved one I bury. Every loss gets harder. Selfish as it sounds, I'm afraid to end up alone, all of my friends and family gone. It feels inevitable. We all will die. I am not afraid of my own death, but the death of others, now that is terrifying.