Funeral Tears and Cheers

Posted: 7 July 2019 in Cultural, Haiti, International Development, On the Pilgrim's Road, Understanding Others
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Noah funeral 4b.jpgTwo funerals this year so far; one shocking, one elegiac. Both with foreign condolences; one military, the other medical.  Both with plenty of food after; one pushed down with tea, the other with vodka.  Both with memories of lives lived; of 11 weeks, and of 96 years.  Both funerals are worth a thought.  But I’ll tell you of baby Noah’s now.

How can a funeral capture both the sense of loss, the genuine loss; and the sense of hope, confidence?   And also a mysterious third dimension- that it is better to have genuinely loved and lost, is better than never having loved at all, so never suffered the loss?

Lament
This funeral did work us for the tears: ♫Benedictus, Karl Jenkins; ♫Jealous of the Angels, Katherine Jenkins; ♫ Brahms’ Lullaby, Celine Dion.

Then the Vicar called us to lament.  The tulips on the coffin brought up be each one of us, to lament.  There is an Edwardian funeral poem Death is nothing at all. It does not count.  I have only slipped away into the next room, by Henry Holland.  Poor chap, this part of the poem has been taken out of context, completely.  He did not mean only that, but many of the post-religious entertains that fantasy.

Not for the grieving parents this nonsense. Carwyn (the dad’s) tear stricken eulogy was sliced through with searing loss.  Moving to watch – tough to say.

Hope
The parents (Carwyn and Reninca) announced hope.  In the Final Glory, when God wraps up the Universe as we know it, and puts in place a Proper Order of things, dad was confident that he would see Noah again.  Yes, there is a case for lamentation now.  But as night is followed by day there is a solid confidence in the resurrection.

And in the here and now – wilting flowers and fading picture?  No.  Positive action.  The parents are key players in the charity Health Hope Action, and though The Noah Hill Memorial Fund many babies in Haiti and South Sudan will live, though Noah did not.  Forget the “Oxfam” stories.  I have seen this stuff with my own eyes, and I know it is happening.

Love As A Muscle
In The Eulogy, I don’t know whether dad intended to have implied “Better to have loved and lost, than never have loved at all.” But that is something that struck me.  That big pic of Noah, balloons, and of course that LOVE in lights.  All v weepy stuff.  A very large (unknown) lady next to me gave me tissues.  LOVE in lights was mesmerising. It seemed to set a tone for the whole service.

Maternity.jpg

HHA supported maternity work in Haiti

Love is a “muscle” that can be strengthened and grown.  (Or be left unused and wither.)  That which both parents (and grandparents) already had in quantity, grew further with Noah.  And if not to atrophy with depression and neglect, could be applied to: new relationships, new friendships, new visions.  New depth in old relationships, friendships, visions. This is not an idea welcomed in a secular mindset, which simply shuts its eyes to suffering.  Suffering? Mum’n’dad hate it too and work in Haiti/East Africa against it.  The parents politely accepted weak pieties that kindly folk stick onto this loss, it is was not where they stood.

This funeral – well it gave me an experience of perhaps how God The Loving Father wants us to cope a beast like Suffering.  A lovely World – damaged by sin, evil, suffering, death.  These damage each one of us.  This funeral gave us a glimpse of the fight-back.  With genuine love.  Above all, empowered by God’s love.

Bill
NB: real names used with permission.

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