My funeral, " the Blue Man said. "Look at the mourners. Some did not even know me well, yet they came. Why? Did you ever wonder? Why people gather when others die? Why people feel they should? "It is because the human spirit knows, deep down, that all lives intersect. That death doesn't just take someone, it misses someone else, and in the small distance between being taken and being missed, lives are changed. "You say you should have died instead of me. But during my time on earth, people died instead of me, too. It happens every day. When lightning strikes a minute after you are gone, or an airplane crashes that you might have been on. When your colleague falls ill and you do not. We think such things are random. But there is a balance to it all. One withers, another grows. Birth and death are part of a whole. "It is why we are drawn to babies... " He turned to the mourners. "And to funerals.
The funeral is a quiet one, despite the number of mourners present. There are no sobs or flailing handkerchiefs. There is a smattering of color amongst the sea of traditional black. Even the light rain cannot push it down into the realms of despair. It rests instead in a space of thoughtful melancholy.
My sister, Judy, has always said that she would like to lie in state, propped up in her coffin with her eyes blared wide open, face fixed in a big grin, and have a taped greeting for all her mourners. Something real upbeat and, well, live-sounding, like: 'He-e-e-ey!Cuteshoestellyomamahi!
Jill Conner Browne
Royal summoned mourners. They came from the village, from the neighboring hills and, wailing like dogs at midnight, laid siege to the house. Old women beat their heads against the walls, moaning men prostrated themselves: it was the art of sorrow, and those who best mimicked grief were much admired. After the funeral everyone went away, satisfied that they'd done a good job.
Even the death of Friends will inspire us as much as their lives. They will leave consolation to the mourners, as the rich leave money to defray the expenses of their funerals, and their memories will be incrusted over with sublime and pleasing thoughts, as monuments of other men are overgrown with moss; for our Friends have no place in the graveyard.
Henry David Thoreau
All who ask receive, those who seek find, and to those who knock it shall be opened. Therefore, let us knock at the beautiful garden of Scripture. It is fragrant, sweet, and blooming with various sounds of spiritual and divinely inspired birds. They sing all around our ears, capture our hearts, comfort the mourners, pacify the angry, and fill us with everlasting joy.
John of Damascus
Some things are too terrible to grasp at once. Other things - naked, sputtering, indelible in their horror - are too terrible to really grasp ever at all.It is only later, in solitude, in memory that the realization dawns: when the ashes are cold; when the mourners have departed; when one looks around and finds oneself - quite to one's surprise - in an entirely different world.
When you give in to bullies, you don't just empower them, you encourage whatever methods they employ to achieve their ends; usually terror and violence. Meaning it's the innocent who pay; mourners at a funeral in Baghdad, a group of Coptic Christians on a beach in Libya, a group of defenseless school children in Pakistan. When we turn a blind eye to atrocities, we are complicit in them.
He saw merchants trading, princes hunting, mourners wailing for their dead, whores offering themselves, physicians trying to help the sick, priests determining the most suitable day for seeding, lovers loving, mothers nursing their children""and all of this was not worthy of one look from his eye, it all lied, it all stank, it all stank of lies, it all pretended to be meaningful and joyful and beautiful, and it all was just concealed putrefaction. The world tasted bitter. Life was torture
I did some research on this a couple years ago," Augustus continued. "I was wondering if everybody could be remembered. Like, if we got organized, and assigned a certain number of corpses to each living person, would there be enough living people to remember all the dead people?" "And are there?" "Sure, anyone can name fourteen dead people. But we're disorganized mourners, so a lot of people end up remembering Shakespeare and no one ends up remembering the person he wrote Sonnet Fifty-five about
I did some research on this a couple years ago, " Augustus continued. "I was wondering if everybody could be remembered. Like, if we got organized, and assigned a certain number of corpses to each living person, would there be enough living people to remember all the dead people?" "And are there?" "Sure, anyone can name fourteen dead people. But we're disorganized mourners, so a lot of people end up remembering Shakespeare and no one ends up remembering the person he wrote Sonnet Fifty-five about
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, And Mourners to and fro Kept treading - treading - till it seemed That Sense was breaking through - And when they all were seated, A Service, like a Drum - Kept beating - beating - till I thought My Mind was going numb - And then I heard them lift a Box And creak across my Soul With those same Boots of Lead, again, Then Space - began to toll, As all the Heavens were a Bell, And Being, but an Ear, And I, and Silence, some strange Race Wrecked, solitary, here - And then a Plank in Reason, broke, And I dropped down, and down - And hit a World, at every plunge, And Finished knowing - then -
I felt a funeral in my brain, and mourners to and fro kept treading, treading till I felt that sense was breaking through. And when they all were seated, a service, like a drum, kept beating, beating, till I felt my mind was going numb. And then I heard them lift a box and creak across my soul with those same boots of lead again, then space began to toll, as if the heavens were a bell and being were an ear, and I, and silence, some strange race wrecked, solitary, here. Just then, a plank in reason broke, and I fell down and down and hit a world at every plunge, and finished knowing then.
From the moment any of us utter our first goo-goo's and ga-ga's, we are as good as gone. At that precise instant, any possibility that It will ever arise in us is irrevocably crushed. If any proof is needed, consider how immune to strong emotion our society has grown. At your next visit to the local funeral parlor, glance at the mourners, who can more properly be defined as spectators. Notice how they smell, how well-dressed and dignified they are. This is because viewing the dead has become overwhelmingly acceptable as a social function. Yes, even the corpse is part of the festivities, lying there as the guest of honor, laid out in his best clothes, pumped full of chemicals and smeared with make-up as the patrons file by and nurse their long buried consciences with silk handkerchiefs.
Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me, Knowing thy heart torment me with disdain, Have put on black and loving mourners be, Looking with pretty ruth upon my pain. And truly not the morning sun of heaven Better becomes the grey cheeks of the east, Nor that full star that ushers in the even, Doth half that glory to the sober west, As those two mourning eyes become thy face: O! let it then as well beseem thy heart To mourn for me since mourning doth thee grace, And suit thy pity like in every part. Then will I swear beauty herself is black, And all they foul that thy complexion lack
On the Gallows Once Kofi Awoonor I crossed quite a few of your rivers, my gods, into this plain where thirst reigns I heard the cry of mourners the long cooing of the African wren at dusk the laughter of the children at dawn had long ceased night comes fast in our land where indeed are the promised vistas the open fields, blue skies, the singing birds and abiding love? History records acts of heroism, barbarism of some who had power and abused it massively of some whose progenitors planned for them the secure state of madness from which no storm can shake them; of some who took the last ships disembarked on some far-off shores and forgot of some who simply laid down the load and went home to the ancestors
As McMasters raised the shotgun, the man removed his glasses. There were fields of stars where his eyes should have been. But they weren't reflections of the night sky. These stars were a glimpse of a dim and distant future where the very laws of physics had been reduced to relics of a forgotten age. Feeble as dying embers, they were the palsied mourners at time's wake. McMasters could hear the ultimate silence and feel the biting cold of the one true void. The promise of the eternal nothing beckoned to him. There was a sort of peace in the death it represented, not the death of mind and body but of shape and form. It was the final revelation, the casting off of life's illusion in favor of the void's embrace. from "Riders of the Necronomicon
Funeral Blues Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'. Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good.
At Abraham's burial, his two most prominent sons, rivals since before they were born, estranged since childhood, scions of rival nations, come together for the first time since they were rent apart nearly three-quarters of a century earlier. The text reports their union nearly without comment. "His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre, in the field that Abraham had bought from the Hittites." But the meaning of this moment cannot be diminished. Abraham achieves in death what he could never achieve in life: a moment of reconciliation between his two sons, a peaceful, communal, side-by-side flicker of possibility in which they are not rivals, scions, warriors, adversaries, children, Jews, Christians, or Muslims. They are brothers. They are mourners. In a sense they are us, forever weeping for the loss of our common father, shuffling through our bitter memories, reclaiming our childlike expectations, laughing, sobbing, furious and full of dreams, wondering about our orphaned future, and demanding the answers we all crave to hear: What did you want from me, Father? What did you leave me with, Father? And what do I do now?
His will be done, as done it surely will be, whether we humble ourselves to resignation or not. The impulse of creation forwards it; the strength of powers, seen and unseen, has its fulfillment in charge. Proof of a life to come must be given. In fire and in blood, if needful, must that proof be written. In fire and in blood do we trace the record throughout nature. In fire and in blood does it cross our own experience. Sufferer, faint not through terror of this burning evidence. Tired wayfarer, gird up thy loins, look upward, march onward. Pilgrims and brother mourners, join in friendly company. Dark through the wilderness of this world stretches the way for most of us: equal and steady be our tread; be our cross our banner. For staff we have His promis, whose 'word is tried, whose way perfect": for present hope His providence, 'who gives the shield of salvation, whose gentleness makes great'; for final home His bosom, who 'dwells in the height of Heaven'; for crowning prize a glory exceeding and eternal. Let us so run that we may obtain: let us endure hardness as good soldiers; let us finish our course, and keep the faith, reliant in the issue to come off more than conquerors: 'Art though not from everlasting mine Holy One? WE SHALL NOT DIE!
No parent should have to bury a child... No mother should have to bury a son. Mothers are not meant to bury sons. It is not in the natural order of things. I buried my son. In a potter's field. In a field of Blood. In empty, acrid silence. There was no funeral. There were no mourners. His friends all absent. His father dead. His sisters refusing to attend. I discovered his body alone, I dug his grave alone, I placed him in a hole, and covered him with dirt and rock alone. I was not able to finish burying him before sundown, and I'm not sure if that affected his fate... I begrudge God none of this. I do not curse him or bemoan my lot. And though my heart keeps beating only to keep breaking-I do not question why. I remember the morning my son was born as if it was yesterday. The moment the midwife placed him in my arms, I was infused with a love beyond all measure and understanding. I remember holding my son, and looking over at my own mother and saying, "Now I understand why the sun comes up at day and the stars come out at night. I understand why rain falls gently. Now I understand you, Mother"... I loved my son every day of his life, and I will love him ferociously long after I've stopped breathing. I am a simple woman. I am not bright or learn-ed. I do not read. I do not write. My opinions are not solicited. My voice is not important... On the day of my son's birth I was infused with a love beyond all measure and understanding... The world tells me that God is in Heaven and that my son is in Hell. I tell the world the one true thing I know: If my son is in Hell, then there is no Heaven-because if my son sits in Hell, there is no God.
Stephen Adly Guirgis
I imagined my coffin being closed, and the screws being turned. I was immobile, but I was alive, and I wanted to tell my family that I was seeing everything. I wanted to tell them all that I loved them, but not a sound came out of my mouth. My father and mother were weeping, my wife and my friends were gathered around, but I was completely alone! With all of the people dear to me standing there, no one was able to see that I was alive and that I had not yet accomplished all that I wanted to do in this world. I tried desperately to open my eyes, to give a sign, to beat on the lid of the coffin. But I could not move any part of my body. I felt the coffin being carried toward the grave. I could hear the sound of the handles grinding against their fittings, the steps of those in the procession, and conversations from this side and that. Someone said that he had a date for dinner later on, and another observed that I had died early. The smell of flowers all around me began to suffocate me. I remembered how I had given up trying to establish a relationship with two or three women, fearing their rejection. I remembered also the number of times I had failed to do what I wanted to do, thinking I could always do it later. I felt very sorry for myself, not only because I was about to be buried alive but also because I had been afraid to live. Why be fearful of saying no to someone or of leaving something undone when the most important thing of all was to enjoy life fully? There I was, trapped in a coffin, and it was already too late to go back and show the courage I should have had. There I was, having played the role of my own Judas, having betrayed myself. There I was, powerless to move a muscle, screaming for help, while the others were involved in their lives, worrying about what they were going to do that night, admiring statues and buildings that I would never see again. I began to feel how unfair it was to have to be buried while others continued to live. I would have felt better if there had been a catastrophe and all of us had been in the same boat, heading for the same abyss toward which they were carrying me now. Help! I tried to cry out. I'm still alive. I haven't died. My mind is still functioning! They placed my coffin at the edge of the grave. They are going to bury me! My wife is going to forget all about me; she will marry someone else and spend the money we have struggled to save for all these years! But who cares about that. I want to be with her now, because I'm alive! I hear sobs, and I feel tears falling from my eyes, too. If my friends were to open my coffin now, they would see my tears and save me. But instead all I feel is the lowering of the coffin into the ground. Suddenly, everything is dark. A moment ago, there was a ray of light at the edge of the coffin, but now the darkness is complete. The grave diggers' shovels are filling in the grave, and I'm alive! Buried alive! I sense that the air is being cut off, and the fragrance of the flowers is awful. I hear the mourners' departing footsteps. My terror is total. I'm not able to do anything; if they go away now, it will soon be night, and no one will hear me knocking on the lid of my coffin! The footsteps fade, nobody hears my screams, and I am alone in the darkness; the air is heavy, and the smell of the flowers is driving me crazy. Suddenly, I hear a sound. It's the worms, coming to eat me alive. I try with all my strength to move the parts of my body, but I am inert. The worms begin to climb over my body. They are sticky and cold. They creep over my face and crawl into my shorts. One of them enters through my anus, and another begins to sneak into a nostril. Help! I'm being eaten alive, and nobody can hear me; nobody says a word to me. The worm that entered my nostril has reached my throat. I feel another invading my ear. I have to get out! Where is God; why doesn't he help me? They are beginning to eat at my throat, and soon I won't be able to scream!