Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ritual and Body

My great-uncle just passed away and yesterday was the funeral. I've never been one for ritual because it seems that the process of scripting severely limits the room for authentic spontaneous expressions of meaning. But funerals seem different. The emotion is so overwhelming that having the stability of the structure is surely comforting. I'd always thought of cremation or giving my body to science, but it does seem that the body is an important part of the process for the loved ones. I remember when my grandfather passed, that it didn't seem entirely real until I felt the heft of the casket. It was the feeling of the weight that made me really understand that this was my last moment with him. Is the experience different when one spreads the ashes of a loved one? Is it the absence, the finality, or the physicality? Is the body an essential part of the letting go?