Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye is hard. Young or old, family or friend,
it matters not. A funeral service, religious or secular, is important to us because it signifies a finality, a closure to a sad event. No-one looks forward a funeral, of course, but some sort of event is needed by those who are left. Death is not discussed openly in our society, it’s the one thing we don’t want to think about. When it happens, therefore, it is devastating for close family and friends.

Those who have a belief system based on an afterlife express consolation that they will meet their loved one again at some point. Christianity primarily, but not solely, assures believers that death is not the end of life. Others argue this is ridiculous, a fairy story for children, a concept that cannot be scientifically proven and is, therefore, untrue. Philosophically speaking, truth is subjective, based on one’s perception. Belief, on the other hand, does not seek to be proven, belief is holding to that which cannot be proven but believing anyway.

I am a Christian, so I cannot help my bias. I believe in a creator God, a God who calls home those who profess faith in him, who gives life after death. Pamela, my old neighbour and friend, has died and her funeral service is on Wednesday. Pamela too was a Christian and we worshipped together for over ten years. So while I am not looking forward to Wednesday, and I will cry, I hold on to my belief that we will meet again one day. You may disagree, you may think this is just wishful thinking, what Marx called ‘the opiate of the masses’ propping up my unconscious mind. I beg to differ. I acknowledge your opinion and uphold your right to a different opinion from mine, but I too am entitled to my opinion. If I am wrong I have lost nothing except hope.

Why do I personally believe this? The alternative is too awful to contemplate: that we arrive on earth by co-incidence, live our lives, then disappear back into nothingness. This would not give purpose to my life and gives no underlying morality to live my life by, except to meet socially accepted norms for civilised society. My faith gives me far more than morals of course. I cannot claim to hear God’s voice, I have had no dramatic Emmaus moment yet I believe. I am far from perfect, my faith makes me accountable and therefore a better person than I otherwise might be because I believe that Christ is working within me. Maybe I can’t police myself well, who knows, but I do know that there have been times in my life when not having a faith would have made weathering events considerably harder. Wednesday will be one such event for me.

We like to personalise funerals, we like to feel our loved ones are being honoured, commemorated, that their life meant something and that their passing also means something. So I look forward to sharing Wednesday with Pamela’s family and friends, to sharing how she helped me and my family, to hearing more about her life. Pamela was a fabulous musician, pianist and singer and she started my daughter on her musical career by giving her basic, introductory, fun piano ‘lessons’ at age 3. My daughter also now has a Degree in Music, due to her own hard work of course, but also due in part to Pamela’s influence in her life. I am grateful for this and our lives would have been poorer had we not lived a few doors away from Pamela. I feel for Howard, her husband and also want to be there to offer our support to him.

Death is part of life, something we have to deal with as emotional human beings. We will all deal with it differently. I will trust in the God I believe in. I wish you well when it affects you.

Copyright wordz2Go Feb 2015

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