Returning from the Funeral

Mourning by Harold M. Schulweis

How do they leave the funeral?
After the eulogy, after the lowering of the casket
After the earth has been gently dropped upon the grave.

They divide themselves into two rows
to allow the mourners to depart
Then walk slowly towards their cars,
A different gait than before.

A different quietness, a new recognition
of the mortality of their lives
of what is really important and what is trivial pursuit.

They leave silently
Holding hands
A new lucidity has entered their lives.

We are finite, you and I
but in the clasping of our hands
the linking of our arms
we are more.

Children leave the mortuary
They have grown up this past hour
less frightened, more in awe
They have heard the whisper of immortality
and felt the hovering spirit of memory.

Can we return to our lives as if nothing has happened?
Will tomorrow be as yesterday?
Has death not given birth to new life?

"Better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting
For that is the end of all human beings
and the living will lay it to their heart" (Ecclesiastes 7)

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Monday, January 31, 2011 - 11:45am