That’s the Problem of Evil, right there, in a nutshell: Child-sized coffins are ready-made. They don’t need to be specially commissioned.
Gabriel’s funeral was this morning. Catholic funeral Mass; it’s sort of a weird thing to see a person named the “celebrant” at a funeral, but I guess it’s probably theologically sound. Not that theology is really on strong footing here; it is the ritual, not the theology, that brings the most comfort. The assertion that Gabriel is in Heaven is, I think, not necessarily as comforting as the more pragmatic observation that friends and family are still here.
My verbalized communications to Matt and Kate, Gabriel’s parents, were pretty much limited to discussing the need to get together with them sometime soon. I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to articulate sorrow or sympathy; I don’t think words would have mattered, and I’m not always good at them. (It takes a professional writer to say, with confidence, “I’m not good enough with words to say anything right now.”)
The cantor was pretty overwrought. I don’t know her, and I think she’s a church person, not an immediate friend of the family. But… It’s one thing to sing hymns to full-grown adults about how their aging parents with whom they made peace several years ago have finally gone home to God. It’s another thing to sing of joy to a grieving mother. She did a wonderful job, though.
What can we say, or do? I don’t know. Today, everything is a little quieter. The sunny morning with the cool breeze was some of the most pleasant weather I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard people complain that beautiful weather is wrong for grief; that the weather should be misty or rainy, to match moods. No, beautiful weather was good. It helped. The problem isn’t that it’s the wrong thing; just that it was woefully insufficient for the task.
Easter funerals are either the best or the worst. To celebrate the Resurrection is to affirm life over death… But it requires us to acknowledge death, something many people are unwilling to do.
Me among them, right now.
Date: 2006-04-13 19:50:03 -0500
I’m sorry - I shouldn’t have been so wrapped up in self righteousness about an old post made in good faith that I missed this sad and terrible thing. How you all must feel I really can’t claim to know - I only know I selfishly never want cause to feel that way myself.
Prayers for you all and God Bless
Date: 2006-04-20 12:04:45 -0500
I’m so sorry
Date: 2006-04-28 12:04:54 -0500
Experience tells me that there’s nothing that can be said whose content will diminish the pain. “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it, and neither does anything else imaginable. :(
I am also sorry I didn’t offer condolences sooner, but I have contracted Lyme disease and until the last few days I’ve been decidedly ill.