menu

We will all at sometime die, but does it really matter on all the hullabaloo after one’s death?

I have always been amazed by funerals and burials, this amazement is so much in contradiction to the pain that everybody feels. It is not so much the mix of sorrow and glowing faces at recognizing friends and relatives we have not seen after a long period, but is much to do with the rituals that accompany this auspicious ceremony.

While funeral ritual and cultures differ so much in different places only one thing remains the same. The desire to try and show respect to the dead. In some cultures, funerals are a place for feasting and celebrating the life of the deceased. People come with their spare toothpick ready to feast, hence you get such comments like “I can’t imagine we didn’t eat anything at that funeral” from the funeral goes as they leave the celebration.

In other places death and funeral is such a sad moment that people would like to send you to the other world in the shortest time possible, at least within 12 to 24 hours, lest somebody steal your dead body and add sorrow to an already very sorrowful moment. And in some religious cultures, the body must be buried before the sun sets.

In my many years of attending funerals, not that I have attended many in my 36 years, I once had a funeral ceremony with neither the body of the deceased nor accompanying burial. It was amazing to see everyone walk around an imaginary coffin that was only represented by a picture, a table, a chair, a book and a table light representing the life of this distinguished professor. The pastor sprinkled holy water on the table as if sprinkling water on the deceased. Whether it was the fear of the family having the ashes of the deceased at the memorial or it was their desire to forget the pain. I never ever understood why the body was buried in one day and memorial held 2 days later. But that is neither here or there now.

In some cultures, cremation is still frowned upon, but as the world develops cremation and others forms of sending people to other world is getting more common. I still can’t understand why I keep referring to the other world in this blog. Well I won’t get into the philosophical or religious discussion of the other world as it will be my topic for another blog.

I was once in a region of this world, a place that took me two days to reach with a well maintained four wheel drive Range Rover discovery. I don’t want to claim that I discovered this community on the hill and valleys of a very beautiful landscape filled with a lush of greenery. As I stood atop the hill, where an old missionary hospital stood. I could see the lush valley full of all the indigenous trees that seemed well protected by nature and I was told there lived a few wild animals too. I thought how climate conscious this community was that they never cut even a single tree in this beautiful forest.

In his white stained ironed linen court, the local doctor accompanied me on the tour of duty. The bald-headed bespectacled doctor tapped my shoulder and pointing towards the valley said in a serious and soft voice, “Do you know that is where this community buries their dead.” Making use of my rat brain I said to him, you mean they have a cemetery in the middle of the forest. Actually, I was wrong! In this community, when someone dies they carry their body and dispose of it in this lush forest as soon as possible and let the remains fertilize the soil for the trees. No wander there were few homes in the vicinity of this lovely green neighborhood. Well truth be said, sometime I wonder what respect for the dead body mean, when the living body was never even respected. Well when a loved one dies the family must make the best decision for the dead while still respecting his best wishes.

In my opinion, I care very little about how my remains are disposed. Whether, you burn it, roast it, burry it in a golden coffin. It actually doesn’t make a difference to my dead body. In essence, why do people think that a dead body cares about how it is disposed? We only care when we are still alive, because we have all the mental faculties but once you are dead these faculties and organs stop and you become what the bible calls soil from soil. I care much about how you treat me and I treat you in this current life than all those great ceremonies on my demise. Let us give some respect to each other in this life rather than this false respect in death.