Funeral rites predate Homo sapiens by at least 300,000 years, yet funerals are still not easy to get through; we leave funerals with many mixed feelings.
What many realize is how little they knew the deceased. Like the 1955 song: "You think you know me well; you don't know me." Many people are taken aback when they find they missed out on a person who was deeper than they ever anticipated in their wildest dreams. Simultaneously, everyone becomes privileged to facts from unknown witnesses telling what a wonderful, giving, optimistic life the person led. Many times we find a unique trait they had, such as that they would tackle any feat, particularly if someone said it could not be done. Some make personal differences in many lives as well as practicing what Mother Teresa espoused, "If you want to make a difference ... love your family." They listened and did love their family which becomes apparent during the ceremony.
Similarly, like author-speaker Wayne Dyer, who was placed in an orphanage, which he says strengthened his character, we find at funerals that people we thought we knew had experienced difficult circumstances. When we hear such traumatic news, almost in unison, a wave of sympathetic energy makes our hearts ache for what must have been excruciating pain during their childhood. We are so affected; yet, they never discussed it, which makes the news almost more heartbreaking.
Strange how people who have it so hard in life come through it with flying colors.
Such is the case with my mother, Julia. Her parents died of pneumonia when she was a toddler; her teenage brother, George, who had a job with B&O Railroad, paid for Julia's board where she was made to wash dishes and clean house while other playmates joyously jumped rope and played hopscotch outside. Julia rose above her painful childhood, always looking at the best in people, and became a real estate broker and created Kayhouse Realty.
James Rodney Dize Sr., my children's father, who passed away May 28, 2012, was educated in a one-room schoolhouse on Maryland's Eastern Shore and remembered the day his mother left him and four young siblings because of her philandering husband. Yet, JRD Sr. rose above his hurtful childhood by accumulating real estate and winning an election as business agent for Teamsters Union Local #557.
Strong people like those mentioned above each chose a spiritual path which sustained them throughout their hardships and momentary failures, ever catapulting them toward God's truth.
When someone transitions, mostly we are sad because of our personal loss. We can find solace by believing their energy is still with us as they wait, just on the other side, for our transition. Sometimes we feel regret that we didn't spend more time with a relative or regret that we didn't get to know them better. Eddy Arnold sang, "Afraid and shy, I let my chance go by." Don't let your chance go by. Change your perspective, look at people with new eyes. "When we meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter" ("A Course in Miracles").