the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


A Hero’s Journey: Death Is Not The End

Uncle-in-law‘s funeral was very nice yesterday.  I’d never seen the details for a military funeral before, which I thought was cool.  I had not realized before that the Marines (EDIT: Nov 18, 2013: SIL is right, these were Army National Guard in dress blues) involved must take very exact and precise steps in removing the flag, folding it, and presenting it to the widow (my aunt-in-law).  A friend of the family played “Amazing Grace” with regimental bagpipes and full formal Scottish attire.

SIL took this pic. Cimmy is quite the Scottish enthusiast so of course she had to introduce me to this family friend.

As you can see, death is not the end in the Monomyth cycle.

As you can see, death is not the end in the Monomyth cycle.

What amazed me was Cimmy called her aunt a few days before, and she was so sanguine about everything as Cimmy and I talked to her.  I wasn’t amazed by her perspective on it, because we are of the same faith and understanding, but rather, I was heartened by her optimism.

Cimmy had been upset, but I told her, “In a few days, you’ll be talking about your uncle just as you do all of our other [departed] family members that visit us.”  Sure enough, as she was getting ready before we left, she said that he had stopped by and visited with her.

I don’t talk about this aspect lightly at all.  My understanding of death and the departed is similar to the Japanese concept of ancestral spirits; I think the Japanese have got it right.  And I think Cimmy is sensitive to their presence, more sensitive than I am.  I wish there was a word better than “ghost whisperer”– there’s too much confusion and misunderstanding in Western culture about this concept.

It is my experience that funerals are for the living.  I have still been hurting badly, but I gave my word to my MIL and to my AIL that I would be there.  I was glad I did.  It was a sunshine-filled day.  I didn’t limp (too much).  I got to give hugs and comforting words.  Rockabilly BIL B.A. and K made a surprise appearance.  It was cold outside, but there was warmth in my heart, for this one thing is generally true of LDS funerals, but especially this one:

Death is not a final end, but a new beginning.

UIL will be around, and things will continue, until our upgrade to Body 2.0.