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Long time no see...

I know I have promised some of you a picture update, and it will definitely be up. But since I actually had something I wanted to speak of, that goes up first. So the latest events go up first, imagine that. *chuckles*

As a few of you know, my mother's cousin died last Monday, of a heart attack, at the relatively young age of 65. Today was the funeral. I never had any doubt that I wanted to attend, as I actually knew and liked the man. He was a lovely person, torn away from his family and friends much too soon.

The funeral itself was a lovely affair, I thought. The church was packed to capacity with family, friends and neighbors. There were lovely wreaths and flowers all around the coffin. With personal notes attached to each on the ribbons. I admit it hit me pretty hard to see the coffin and know who was inside. It makes it easier to believe that it's really true.

The priest got definite points from me, though. It was immediately obvious that she'd spoken to the family, and that she wanted to make the ceremony a personal one. She spoke of his life at length, about his experiences, and how he touched other people's lives, giving extra space to his giving personality. She also said that he was one of the people she did funerals for that she wished she could have met. All in all, touching. In addition, family members and friends made short speeches as well, speaking about how he'd touched their lives. Quite a few sniffles all around, but that's to be expected. And we had each other. My mother, father and I, all together.

(Why is it that all the priests that have really touched me throughout the years have been female? I might have to do something about that in a separate post.)

Then came the point where the coffin was carried to the graveside. While it had been a sunny, lovely day when we arrived at church, at that point it was pouring down, heavy, soaking rain. My father later commented to me that his first reaction was that my mother's late cousin had arranged it from the afterlife, as he was quite the joker. My mother also confirmed that she thought the same.

Either way, the coffin was carried out, the ceremony done, and the coffin finally lowered into the grave. Everyone got soaked to the skin, but no one seemed to mind at all. They just cracked jokes about the pointlessness of having spent time fixing one's hair before the funeral.

Shortly after, we arrived at a small hall rented for the occasion, where the family would meet, talk, eat and share memories. The rain got referenced, with the comment that it'd been a fitting sendoff for a farmer like my mother's cousin had been.

Then there was food and talking. Lots of both, as they are both typical of the family. We wouldn't let anyone go hungry from the table. Ever. I'm sure the hosts got to eat lots of lovely sandwiches and cake for days afterwards.

It was a nice event. Everyone on their best, most graceful behavior. Some people admittedly weren't on speaking terms, but you couldn't tell by looking at them, because everyone was focused on community, it seemed. There was a continuous din, from the constant chatting at all the tables. You couldn't move to get to the tables set up with the food on it, because the hall was so full, so a few people just got the trays off the tables, and sent them around so everyone got to take what they wanted without having to wait in line. Which worked great.

Not to mention there was lots of laughter. Which my mother's cousin would have liked, as he was the known for his sense of humor, in addition to his caring heart. He was the type who helped everyone. One who cared. So the world's a little less nice for not having him in it. But he got a send-off I think he would have loved.

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
su_carbs
Aug. 14th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that :(
snowelf
Aug. 14th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks. It's still not easy, but the funeral itself helped, as we got to focus on the positive memories.
hemlock_martini
Aug. 14th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
My condolences on your loss.

Good to hear from you, though.
snowelf
Aug. 15th, 2007 09:19 am (UTC)
Thank you. It's good to hear from you as well.
caersidi
Aug. 14th, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear of you and your family's loss.

I do feel that funerals can be very happy and positive events. It's what I would want for my own.
snowelf
Aug. 15th, 2007 09:19 am (UTC)
Yes, as would I. I'm very glad the funeral was as touching as it was. It meant a lot to me, and to my parents.
theswordmaiden
Aug. 15th, 2007 02:04 am (UTC)
Damn that is a beautiful icon. One of your WoW characters?

Your description of the funeral was touching. It was a good way to remember someone dear to all of you, even if not all of your relatives were on good terms with each other.

Question, what denomination was the church, specifically the priest? I thought that Protestant ones are called pastors or ministers, and Catholics are priests, but women aren't allowed that yet. (Of course, if she isn't Christian at all then never mind, I don't know what she should be called. :))
snowelf
Aug. 15th, 2007 09:21 am (UTC)
Not WoW, but a wholly different game. Guild Wars. Anyway...

Yes. It's what I would want for my own funeral, I'm certain.

Protestant, as far as I know. Blame it on my not recalling the correct word. I have a tendency to default to the word priest when I can't recall the correct one. Too many RPGs, I think.

We allow female ministers in the Norwegian protestant church, which I think is a very good thing.
theswordmaiden
Aug. 16th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
Okay, when it's Norwegian then I assume "Lutheran" but yeah, I shouldn't do that. Also maybe you guys do use the equivalent word for "priest" even if Protestant. Your usage just threw me and I wondered, is all. Thanks for clearing that up!

Yes, Protestants normally allow women to be ordained, though I'm not sure this happens in all countries. That sucks. I'm quite interested to hear about your experiences with other female ministers, which you mentioned.
snowelf
Aug. 16th, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC)
Protestant, Lutheran, I thought that was pretty much the same thing. You can tell I'm not up on the lingo, and that I don't go to church very often. Weddings, baptisms and funerals, that's the only time.

I do recall going to school with at least one Catholic, so yeah, Norwegian doesn't neccessarily equal protestant.

Yeah, it sucks, so I'm glad I'm in a country where you get females pretty high up in the church hierarchy.

I did intend to write a post on female ministers, and I intend to have it up fairly soon. Should run with the ideas when I have them, this LJ's been quiet for so long.
theswordmaiden
Aug. 16th, 2007 09:56 pm (UTC)
Oh okay, well there are many kinds of Protestants. Lutheran is just one, but I think it's the most common one, at least in Europe (and the oldest). There's also Calvinist, Church of England. And in the U.S. I think the biggest ones are Baptist, Methodist, etc. You get the picture. :)

I'm really interested in learning what it's like in other places, though I end up learning that, like anywhere else, you can't put people in a box.

I am curious, do you still consider yourself pagan? I haven't heard you talk about that in a while.
snowelf
Aug. 17th, 2007 09:02 am (UTC)
Now that you say it, I should know these things. I tend to use Protestant and Lutheran interchangeably, and I shouldn't.

*nods* Yes, I do. Just haven't given much thought to religion lately, which is another thing I should do.
blizzardskies
Aug. 15th, 2007 07:00 am (UTC)
It's nice to see you! My mom, of all people, just asked me the other day if I had heard from you. How weird is that? (((HUGS)))
snowelf
Aug. 15th, 2007 09:22 am (UTC)
Your mother? I didn't know your mother knew you knew me... *laughs* Anyway, it's very nice to hear from you too.
pmgoose
Aug. 15th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
*HUGS* I'm so sorry for your loss, but glad your mom's uncle got the proper send-off. It sounds beautiful.

Great to hear from you.

And hooray for female ministers!
snowelf
Aug. 15th, 2007 08:30 pm (UTC)
Yes, it was. I have no pictures of the funeral, though. Or I'd share it.

Glad it is not just me who likes female minsters. Do you have any stories of them to share?
calaethis
Aug. 16th, 2007 04:50 am (UTC)
I'm glad the funeral went well. There isn't really much I can say that hasn't already been said - either by other comment-ers, or what I've said over msn. Still, I'm sorry for your loss.
snowelf
Aug. 16th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
That's enough, really. Knowing that you are sorry, and having friendship, and distraction, is what I need.
pirotess
Aug. 17th, 2007 06:48 pm (UTC)
Sorry for your family's loss :(

It's nice that he got a ceremony that reflected his good nature. In my culture/religion the priests (and relatives) never give speeches at funerals, the ceremonies are generic, which i think diminishes the sense of closure. I like that the priestess invested in the event.

Anyway, it's nice to see you posting again. What have you been up to? ^.^
snowelf
Aug. 17th, 2007 07:43 pm (UTC)
I think it's a shame that your culture don't have that, as it's the best way of getting closure and remembering the person, I think. But I have also seen ministers who don't invest any in the events. So it does depend on the minister.

I've been busy looking for work, for the most part. Not to mention I've been away for a bit too, hence the mention of the promised pics.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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Falmalire
snowelf
Eldalossë Súrilenda, the Snow Elf Sphynx

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