A thought on griefpublished: 2009-11-24
At funerals, it’s the songs they play that bring out the tears. You listen to how friends of the deceased describe memorable moments. They choke up and you feel awful, but somehow words have this way of creating distance. Personal memories are not necessarily shared memories. Then come the songs. And with them the universal pain and fear of memories lost. A person gone.
A young man man sat next to me, clean shaven and good looking. Grey suit. He shifted on his chair a few times during the service, uncomfortable while listening to friends and family speak about the deceased. When the song came he bent double. He cried in silence. His entire body sobbed without noise. He hit his fist against his forehead a few times. I did not know the man, yet my hand moved to his back and stroked it. Just once. Immediately I knew it was wrong. I had entered his grief. The song may be collective, but grief is private. The church could hardly accomodate the amount of people that had come to mourn. Yet each and every one of them was there alone.
On my way home I understood the parents are doing the same. They are crying in silence, alone. So that while telling us about their son they were able to share a smile.