Friday, September 5, 2008

The Funeral

"That's why they call them funerals and not Mardi Gras!"
Estelle Getty

Ever since I heard the late Estelle Getty utter those words on TV they stuck in my head. It's true. Nobody likes funerals. Last Wednesday we went to Daniel's viewing in NW Houston. We brought a picture from New Orleans with the group and placed it on the table amongst the others. I saw some people I hadn't seen in a long time and some I've never met before. My wife and I browsed the photographs. Then it came time to walk up and view Daniel. I took a deep breath and prepared myself. We followed some friends and walked up to Daniel. Seeing a friend or family member laying in a casket brings a tidal wave of strong emotions and new realities. This was the guy who walked the Mississippi River with us. This is the guy who came to our old house. Now his body will spend eternity in this black casket. When faced with this, people turn to defense mechanisms. Everyone who stood there cried. Some harder than others. My defense mechanism became anger. Anger at why this happened.

"This is so f****** senseless!!!!!" My mind screamed.

My wife was crying hard. We walked out and looked back on the pictures. This is the Daniel I choose to remember. It also reaffirmed my faith in God. Now, I'm not a fiery preacher type or anything. I believe people should decide to have faith in God and vice versa. After all, God gave people free will. Some people would say if there really is a God why would this happen. I just can't accept that. I look at it in the way that God knows what will happen and if Harris County doesn't punish the killer, God will. That also made the whole situation easier for me to deal with. We then socialized, shared memories and shared laughs. That also helps the grieving process. I was also approached by friends and family members who read my last post and thanked me for writing it. I was humbled by it. I really am flattered that his family read and appreciated my post. I will never forget it. Nor will I forget Daniel's little niece. She couldn't have been more than ten years old and it was hard on her. How do you make a little girl make sense of this? I don't think you can. I just hope her parents help her through the grief.

The next day was the funeral. We arrived during the last half hour of the final viewing. We went in and viewed Daniel one last time. During the service some kid kept hollering and hooting. I know the kid can't possibly comprehend what is going on or that his or her behavior is not appropriate for this time. Then I wondered why the parent couldn't walk out of the service with the noisy kid. I thought that was inconsiderate of the parent. We then drove to the cemetery for the burial. We partook in the custom of laying a handful of dirt on the casket ourselves. Upon completing that, I saw the funeral director signal the cemetery crew who practically gave us the bum's rush. I can understand getting the bum's rush at a steak house, but at a grave side service? I thought funeral companies would give some time at the graveside for the family and friends before they started the burial. To me, it just shows a lack of sensitivity. That's just my opinion. Anyway, the whole day was emotionally and physically draining for everyone. Now, we try to get back to our regular routines while still going through the grieving process. I do tell myself while we go back to our normal lives, Daniel is looking down on us, beginning a new adventure in Heaven.

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