I’m still alive!
It has been some time since I wrote in my blog, but the news, whether good or bad, is that I am still here in the land of the living, it’s just that I was concentrating on another project which required many hours of work and dedication to detail.
During this time of absence one thing that happened was that there was a death in my extended family. An aunt of my wife who was ninety-one years old died in hospital ten days after suffering a fall in which she knocked her head.
As I said, the call announcing her death came in the early hours of the morning and this was the first in a sequence of events that ended the same day with the funeral at 4 PM. After receiving the call my wife and one of her sisters went to the hospital, and also contacted the undertakers who organised the cremation, and the funeral mass in the church that she had frequented all her life. In the morning various members of my wife’s family contacted other family members, friends and acquaintances of the deceased, and the old people’s home where she had been living, and with that the relatively large church was more than half full when the mass began.
I remember that when my mother died some years ago now, I first had to get from Colombia to Wales and there wasn’t a flight available from Medellin to London for three or four days. On arriving in Cardiff some five days after her death I still had to wait more than a week for the funeral ceremony and thus had the chance to visit the funeral home and pay my last respects to her.
You go to the funeral parlour where the body is being kept, tell the receptionist who you want to see and when they have wheeled the body into one of the small side rooms they lead you in and leave you in peace with the body which is lying in an open coffin.
Why in one country the whole process is so fast whereas in the other it is the exact opposite I’m not sure. Certainly I was grateful for the opportunity to travel all the way from Colombia to Wales to be at my mother’s funeral, had I been a Colombian living in Wales who had to travel home for a family funeral maybe I wouldn’t have been able to arrive in time.
My own feelings about death are that it’s not the finality which many believe it is, but instead a necessary stage on the way to the reincarnation of the real me, my soul, and another opportunity to progress along one’s spiritual path. I guess this is more or less based on the Hindu beliefs, but is what I have come to believe after many years of meditation and occasional, fleeting, out of body experiences.
To debate this idea is helpful in as much as it gives one the opportunity to look more deeply into one’s beliefs and thus fine tune the structure and reasoning, but in the end no one knows what happens. We can all develop our own thoughts, ideas and beliefs regarding death but what is important is that you are comfortable with your personal tenet.
When I die I would like to be buried in the cemetery in Cathays, Cardiff near where I lived when I was a child and where some of my ancestors are buried, though if I die in Colombia this may be logistically difficult. Certainly at my funeral I wouldn’t want any religious music but instead some of my favourite songs by people such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake or maybe even Pink Floyd or Gong to name but a few.
You can read about how different cultures deal with death here.
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