The late folksinger Phil Ochs, sang these words:
There's no place in this world where I'll belong when I'm gone
And I won't know the right from the wrong when I'm gone
And you won't find me singin' on this song when I'm gone
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here
I attended a funeral this week of a friend. I was not his best friend, his oldest friend, his dearest friend, but I was fortunate to call him a friend. And the family asked me to deliver the Kaddish prayer. And I was honored.
But I'm pretty pissed off and it ain't pretty.
As Phil Ochs said,"I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here."
Life is funny..and cruel.
We give in our lifetime because that's who we are. But what we often give, is seen as a stepping stone to some, where they want to be. Don't get me wrong: Ambition with soul and purpose is good. Ambition for the sake of ambition is ugly.
And funerals can be ugly. The friends and lovers of the person who passed are pure. This person has left our lives and we will miss them. Then there is the person who says: So and so inspired me and for that, I am grateful they were here on this earth. Then there is the last group: those who are there because they know they were NOT there in the time of need and they have their own demons to deal with.
I only speak from experience. I lost a child and I saw the groups splinter. But let's be honest: Expressing grief is not easy. We do NOT know the things to say. We struggle for the right words. Those of us who have suffered loss get it, not right away but we understand the lifecycles. And the uncomfortability of saying: we share your loss.
But I have attended too many funerals of friends and family and distinguish between the mourners and the mournees. The mournees are the ones who mourn their own lack of capability to feel the pain. Don't get me wrong. Pain sucks. But the story is not you. It is the family left behind. The ones who go to sleep without their husband, father, friend or lover.
I looked round the chapel. There was so much pain, not only in the people in the pews but the people speaking of the deceased person's legacy. And then there were those who were there because they were supposed to be there. No one is supposed to mourn a friend. They should be there because they feel the loss.
We all have regrets in life. Did we do enough, did we do too little. Or did we do nothing? I'd like to believe I did something. I could have done more. That is my cross to bear.
I stand with the widow, their children, their family and grateful they considered me to have a place. We can always do more. But it's better than doing nothing. And for those who did nothing, shame on you.
Rest in peace, dear friend. Rest in peace.