Departures and Arrivals

May 31st, 2021

“Jesus said unto him, ‘Let the dead bury their dead.’ ” – Luke 9:60

The email said, “We missed you last night at the funeral…”

I wasn’t sure how to take that. Our friend could have meant to say,

“We had really hoped to see you there”,

or it could have meant,

“Where the fuck were you?”

That’s the problem with emails: you don’t have any of the usual verbal and visual clues.

I feel a bit bad about not being at the church for the service. Andrea was our friend for over twenty years. She had a difficult life in many ways. She struggled with cancer during the past few years. The disease took her away several days ago. The death was sudden, but not entirely unexpected.

Andrea spent her last years caring for her grandson. She did that fulltime. Our current family situation is very similar to Andrea’s. Karin and I know how hard she worked to raise a small child, and we understand how much she loved the boy.

Timing is everything. Andrea’s death came at a moment when our lives were in turmoil. Andrea passed away on May 20th, and her funeral was on the evening of the 27th. Karin had just received her second COVID shot on the 25th. She was sick and exhausted on the day of the funeral. We still needed to take Asher to see his mother that day, and we had a mandatory Zoom appearance with Children’s Court immediately following the visit to Asher’s mom. I took Asher to the treatment center by myself that day. Karin wasn’t up for it.

We both chose to stay home after the Zoom court hearing. I couldn’t go and leave Karin with Asher, as tired and feverish as she was. The six month old baby was our priority.

I believe that we have a duty to honor those who have gone before us. People are not trash that we can simply throw away. There needs to be some sort of ritual or ceremony to remember the lives of those who have left this world. There has to be some kind of send off, some way of saying farewell to the departed. Perhaps funerals do no good for the dead, but they can help the living to heal.

Having said that, a funeral does not take priority over the everything else. Asher only arrived in this world six months ago. He’s a healthy and generally happy boy, but he needs our constant help and attention. Andrea is now part of our past. Asher our present, and our future. He has to be our focus.

Sometimes the dead have to bury their dead.

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