Wednesday, 18 October 2017
However, the first one brings with it opportunity. How so? Well, it gives you the opportunity to come alongside those who are mourning the loss of a loved one.
I think most people have experienced the loss of a loved one, or, at the very least, have come alongside someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one.
Death is experienced differently in different cultures. My reference for death, dying and funerals has mostly been in Canada. I have been part of the vigil at the hospital watching a family member as they slowly pass on. I have been a part of the funeral planning, the grieving, the hurting, the tears and all that death entails.
I have also gone to funerals where I have gone to offer support to a friend who has lost a loved one. Come along side to share the burden of their grief.
What I have never stopped to appreciate is the way we do all this. The unhurriedness of the process. The time allowed to make decisions. The simple fact of how much time we have to get it all done.
Since we have been here in GDL we have also had the opportunity to come alongside friends who have lost a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, a sibling, etc.
The process is so very different. For example, last night at 10 p.m Ernie got a text informing him of the death of a friend's (from the gym) mother. The implication is that you can (should) head over to the funeral home for the 'velorio' (wake). Friends and family come together to sit with the family and grieve all night (12-24 hours). Then today at noon was the mass for the funeral.
Everything happens quickly. From the time you are told of the death within 12-24 hours they are buried. There is no time to prepare.
Our funerals are a complete service, dedicated to the loved one, with music, scripture, eulogies, etc all primarily about the loved one. Often an encouraging message is included, for the family and friends, and generally one of comfort.
Not so within the Catholic church. It is a mass. I have been to funeral masses where the person was barely mentioned. I have also been to funeral masses where they were more dedicated to the deceased but the 'norms' or standard components of a mass were still held to.
But, while it is very different and hard to handle the speed with which it all happens, what we have always been able to do is come alongside those who are hurting and be an encouragement. Trying to point them to Christ and the comfort available in Him.