Sunday 16 December 2012

Love and Grief

On the Danish crime thriller "The Killing III" recently, a pastor said to a couple grieving for their missing child: 

"Sometimes I think grief is love that has been made homeless."

This made me think hard once again about the function of a funeral. Love is made homeless when the life to which it was attached has become just a body. The love is left floating free, disoriented, in pain. A body isn't a person, but it was a person. Huge mystery, disjuncture, pain - grief. Essential, unavoidable, erratic and ultimately, healing.

If a funeral helps grieving, it will be because it helps people to say goodbye to a body and move towards the meaning of a life. It will be because it helps the homeless love to settle down with meanings and memories that came from the body-that-was-a-life, but now have to stand alone, bodiless. Huge change, the symptom of which is - grief.

It takes a lot longer than the brief ceremony we usually allow ourselves at the local crem. But even that can help - I hope, I hope...

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