Today I went to the funeral of my wife’s uncle. It was a Catholic Mass, so it was pretty interesting trying to match up the Vietnamese with what I knew from English mass. It was also interesting to hear how the priest pronounced “amen” and “hallelujah”. So far in my life I’ve been to two Cuban funerals and one Vietnamese funeral. One of the Cuban funerals was a masonic funeral. The other was Protestant. Really the only difference in my limited experience is that the Vietnamese take photos and video to document the event.
While there I tried to imagine what it was like for my father-in-law, as it was his brother who passed away. I guess when our grandparents die, it’s not too much of a surprise because they’re two generations older than us. My grandparents always seemed so old to me even though they were in their 50s when I was a kid. Also, if we’re lucky, our grandparents are our first link to death. I think when our parents die, we feel very sad because they raised us and they’re the only people who have known us our entire lives. But when our siblings die, it’s probably a reminder of our mortality. People in OUR age group are dying. I think it probably makes you consider your mortality – especially when you’re getting up in age like my father-in-law.
Overall, the funeral made me very contemplative. I noticed in all the funerals that I’ve been to that the death is hardest on the closest members of the family. Everyone else there is sad, but not melancholy. Most people are having conversations with people they haven’t seen in ages – people they only see at funerals and weddings. So how will it be for me when it’s someone close. Will I be stoic? Able to remember the good times? Will I cry? I don’t cry very easily, so it’s hard to know. And what would people think if I didn’t cry at this person or that person’s funeral?
I hope I don’t have to deal with it for a long time.