Letting go

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Obachan Funeral 2008 from Steven S Friedman on Vimeo.

There’s a thought provoking post over at Mindfulness and Mortality about the role of the body at a funeral. Among many other interesting ideas, blogger Gloriamundi articulates this:

Somehow, people have to let a body go. It’s very difficult to do, because the life of the person they knew was embodied – literally, in that body. The life and the body were the same thing. The body is now a different body, and the mourners have to move towards seeing it as different – something they must let go of. They have to leave with something non-physical, with an enhanced sense of the meaning of the life that is ended.

This is something we have to think through if we are to engage with the nature and the purpose of a funeral. It’s a terribly tough emotional and philosophical transition to make, from caring tenderly for the body of a dead person through to destroying it or permitting it to be destroyed. In the case of cremation, the destruction of the cherished body happens hardheartedly fast after the funeral ceremony. This is illustrated, I think, by the video above.

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