Saturday, November 7, 2015

In Praise of Wakes

From First Things:
You go because the casket visit, the pious obsequies, and the shunt into wet, cold mud—not to mention the little after party offered to the remnant who have followed the cortege to the grave—all these ceremonies, together create, an oddly restorative effect. You go because the spritz of something foreign to the soul follows the trinity of wake, funeral and cemetery. The feeling is so oddly beautiful it’s something a Catholic has to think of as grace.

Then again, maybe you feel better just knowing you’re still alive.

Either way, this odd effect ambushes you. Perhaps you are standing by the mound of fresh earth. The sun has just squinted through some loser of a cloud which looks like car exhaust. In the distance a crow emits a weak and indifferent screech, the tree bark in the cemetery is black with rain, and then suddenly you think: I’m alive. I’m not dead, I’m alive . . . alive . . .

That’s why you show up and don’t just send flowers. (Read more.)

No comments: