sunburnt at the burial

When an unusual sentence comes along, and you can apply it to yourself, it’s a shame not to blog it. I even managed to put sunscreen on before we left the car, but it wasn’t enough.

A crowd of sad people – from the closest family members to those who think they should be there. I watched as a lot of people placed flowers (mostly roses) and then rose petals on the coffin.

In death, everything is larger than life.

Coffins (I’ve seen a few, but never been to a burial before) are really big.
Graves are really deep.
The machine that lowers the coffin into the ground works almost silently.

And the sadness. Young people – too young, perhaps, to know what’s happening – crying for whole minutes at a time. Older people spending days beforehand; moving from crying to laughing, crying to laughing.

There’s some comfort to be had, of course: relative to how much you know about the person, and their faith. A strong Christian will certainly be in heaven; if you’re less sure about their faith, then you hope they’d made a commitment.

But comfort for the relatives? Much harder to come by. Where once a person walked in the house, they walk no more. Never again will there be a complete gathering of that group of people, of family members, of friends.

For me, I just try and do whatever I can to help, and avoid saying anything that will upset people. When it’s appropriate, I talk about Jesus to those who are left behind. When it’s not, I stay quiet, and offer food, drinks and transport to people.

And that seems to be enough, for now.

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  1. Have you never been to a burial? I’ve been to three now and they all stick in my mind.

    My uncle once said to me that the burial is the worst moment of a funeral, especially the moment where they lower the coffin. This was just before my grandmother’s funeral. So he got everyone to close their eyes and pray while they were lowering the coffin, and it wasn’t so bad after that.

    But there’s nothing quite as sobering.

  2. my dads mother (Mumma) passed away late last year.

    it was expected, she had been fragile, although with nothing particularly terminal, for some years. she passed away in the way that most people
    dream of, so to speak, as she slept, she simply didn’t wake up.

    as we prepared for the funeral, ties were done up, lint was removed and then there was the issue of transport, how many cars, the politics of who with whom etc

    my sister, as she had faithfully done on many occasions, chimed in with “who is going to pick up Mumma?”

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