Monday, September 21, 2009

funerals and scaffolding

On Thursday I went to my Uncle Ken’s funeral.

So I pause, at the beginning here, to honour him. The funny, slightly pompous, very teacherey man I knew, who grew up farmed out to relatives, his mother passing away very early in his life. A child of the depression who always wanted something better for himself and the very loyal family he built around him with his wife, whom he loved fiercely.

The thing with funerals is that sometimes they are many conflicting things.

There is sadness, for the loss and, in Ken’s case for the senseless suffering he and his family endured in the last 6 months of his life.

There is readjusting. The shuffling up in the queue as the older generation passes and the next one moves up…

There is fear. There is a dead body there in that box and for many of us the only dead body we see is the one which rises in the zombie movie to come and suck the life out of you while you sleep.

There is the form… the service, the songs, the cup of tea and scones afterwards… people shuffling about in suits (some hired, none ordinary) dreading what will come out of their mouths when they greet the close family…

There is the seeing old faces… seeing first cousins you haven’t seen for 10 years, people that look just like you, or your Dad, but you have no idea who they are…

And there is the trying to make sense of it all… make sense of death, of the meaning attatched to the years that have passed. The lists of achievements, the counting of the attendees…the tallying up of what this life has meant…

And as clichéd as it is, it is always love. Love of a partner. Love of children. Love of friends…

It is always love.

As I watched my cousin struggle through his eulogy (damn fine job, Stuart although don’t get me started on the Anglo Saxon stiff upper lip bullshit….) I could see how much love there was… not right there at the pulpit, but in the hours of going around to the nursing home, to helping his Mother, to immersing his children’s lives in that of his parents, I saw love.

What a legacy to leave.

I drove the 2 ½ hours to the funeral with my two brothers. I think it is the first time in 20 years that I have been alone with them. I think it is the first time I have had a chance to talk about family with them. And to laugh. Yes we were mocking my mother and I know that is not very nice. But God it felt good to laugh with them again.

We drove behind 3 lots of scaffolding trucks on the way down…(ok a little left field but stay with me…)

This fact seemed significant to me but I didn’t know why until I realised…

The funeral process helps to remind those of us still earthside, about our priorities…

What are we scaffolding our lives with …. What are we using to build the years and the contributions we make to others….
Is it love?


  1. Love, integrity, family, honesty, friends, our spiritual selves, honor ~ all these things and many more are our scaffolding.

  2. i love this post! thank you for the reminder!

  3. It is always love. I believe. You do too. That makes me feel safer in the world somehow...blessings friend.

  4. a touching, poignant story. thank you so much for sharing. I agree that these moments-sad and hard as they are-are reminders to LIVE and to look at what's important.

    many blessings to your uncle in his transition and to you and the family.

  5. I'm sorry for your loss, faerian.
    This is a beautiful post and deeply touched my heart. Thank you.
    I very much admire your "thoughts".
    LOVE to you, my friend.

  6. look at the love just here

    look at you women made of love

    building love

    recieving love

    we are blessed