Funeral - 葬禮 - Zànglǐ
Left behind, we seek closure,
salve to soothe frayed nerves
and settle mournful hearts.
Family and friends fill the pews,
some dry tears on hankercheifs,
while others impatiently check their phone.
The service is not for the dead,
but for those still struggling
to make sense of life.
~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
Think back to the last funeral you attended. When you looked closely at the person who passed, could you still make out a soul? Obviously not. Only a corpse is left, one which may not even look familiar. The animating spirit has fled the body. Has the departed flown on to heaven? Has their soul undergone a cycle of transmigration? None of us truly know. Theories abound about what happens after death, but these are merely conjecture.
The funeral service is not simply for the dearly departed, but those of us left behind. It is a ritual meant to come to grips with what happened. One may wonder if their tears are a sign of sympathy for the deceased, or a fearful cry for one's own security.
Throughout our lives, we seek union. Trying to please our parents, we do well in school and society, trying to make love and find a soulmate, touching upon the universal through art, music, and meditation. Yet, we realize that these attempts are flawed. Harmony is a transitory state. The duration and quality of life is defined by our determination and resolve. Once our minds gives way, we can no longer hold onto the connections we have forged.
Do not wait for death to solve all of your difficulties. Do what you can, what you must, while you are still alive.