It’s been five days since our good friend Colleen died. The mental, emotional and physical drama of watching prolonged illness, weight loss and a life end while we stay present in our bodies, is exhausting, exhausting because it is something that affects us through all of our senses. Death pushes us in directions we aren’t typically familiar with, although when experienced it is as real and normal as anything we can experience. All of us travel this path, all of us will go there, and all of us will feel, the mental, emotional and physical strain from it.
It all started Friday night with her two sons carrying their beloved mother down the stairs from her bed room to our awaiting transfer cot. The next day was spent gathering pictures, meeting with church officials and coordinating all of the funeral plans that Colleen had suggested. Her body was dressed, her hair done and two days following her death she was presented to her loved ones in a simple casket. To say she looked beautiful sounds strange, but she did. After so long of seeing her sick and bedridden, it felt good to see her looking as we remembered her. The catholic funeral mass was perfect. Her family gave eulogies and did readings and her grandson brought up the gifts for communion. The priest gave a homily that struck chords with all of us and his incensing of the casket signifying her souls release back to God, was inspirational and emotionally moving. After mass we all went to lunch to drink and break bread together. Later in the day we met at her gravesite. Her body had been cremated and the cremated remains placed in a beautiful maple wood urn that sparkled like her personality. We spoke some closing words, recognizing that we were doing what the human family has been doing since the beginning of time. Gathering to witness and put to rest that which is governed by earths laws (the body) and releasing to the universe, to God, that which is eternal (her spirit and soul). Flowers were placed in her grave as amazing grace was played by bagpipe. We left totally exhausted.
I can only hope that you too will have an experience like this someday.
“Blessings on your journey”