The Way I See It

A weekly feature by Curtis Morton Sr

The way I see it, people can act in very strange ways and sometimes at the most inappropriate times.

I have learnt in my expanded lifetime, that people grieve differently and I have attended numerous funeral services and I have witnessed some curious happenings, and that’s putting it mildly.

I attended a funeral service earlier this week and as I sat quietly, awaiting the start of the service, a particular man entered the church.  Immediately, I sensed from his loud greetings to everyone in the church, that he was probably intoxicated and maybe even overly so.

Well, he proceeded up to the coffin where the body of the deceased lay for viewing and shouted at the top of his lungs:
“Uncle ah reach! Uncle shake me hand for di last!
Are you no see how he a smile wid me?
Ley we take a picture uncle!”
With that, he pulled off a stunning pose, as he leaned his head towards that of his dead ‘uncle’.
I think someone even snapped the photo.

After that complete one man show, which brought smiles to the faces of some and bewilderment to others, he proceeded to make his exit, as loudly as ever: “See are you. Ah gone back to wuk now!”

Sometime ago, I was at another funeral service and I am convinced that the star of that particular show, was doing all in his power, to be captured on my camera.  I was video recording the event for the family and when the dirt was being piled on at the grave site, this man just kept running in front of the camera.  At one time he leapt onto the grave and lay prostrate and ‘sobbing.’  Calling the deceased by name, he kept saying: “Ah can’t believe you gone lef me. So we can’t even go and get another drink?”

At another funeral service, sometime last year, shortly after the coffin was laid down into the hole and persons were throwing in their memorial ribbons, gloves etc this man came and threw in what looked like a bottle of rum and shouted: “Tek you last drink!”

By now, you will think that I am making up stories, right?

Hey, these were true, true, happenings!

This one probably takes the cake and let me put in a quick disclaimer because I was not present. However, my sources are adamant that this is the gospel truth.  They say that it was a Guyanese funeral.  The funeral service at the church was over and the mourners had moved to the Bath cemetery, for the final rites to be completed.  My sources claim that friends of the deceased, went up to the coffin, before it was laid down into the hole, and opened it.  They took a bottle of rum and started pouring it into the mouth of the deceased, telling him to take his last drink.

Well I newa!

It seems as if the Pastor and the Undertakers, were in so much shock, that nobody moved to stop them.

At my grandmother’s funeral, as a mere lad, I cried openly.  At my mother’s funeral, I was brave publicly, but my voice cracked during the delivery of the eulogy and I cried a lot in private.  At my father’s funeral, I was brave throughout, but mourned privately as well.

I also once saw an individual who screamed and screamed and it took a few strong men to prevent her from going down in the hole with the coffin.

My good, old class mate and friend, Vernel Powell, once explained to me that in the USA, people actually hire fake mourners to cry at funeral services.

Well I newa!

He recalls that one day, a friend of his called him to accompany him on a ‘job.’  To his surprise, the guy led him to a funeral home.  As they entered a particular room, there were a few persons there and the deceased was in a coffin.

To his shock, the guy pulled out a handkerchief and started one wailing!  Soon after that, the Funeral Director came and asked him whose funeral service he was hired for.  When he called the name, the Director told him that that person was in the other room.  Powell’s friend stopped crying immediately, went to the other room and started one serious bawling again.

Apparently, they are paid some hefty sums for their efforts.

Well, I cannot make the judgement call and say whose form of mourning is real or fake.

Only Jesus knows.

However, the bible clearly states that there is:
“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance”
Ecclesiastes 3:4

The bible never elaborated in terms of HOW it should be done.

The bible also says “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted”.

It is also comforting to know that once the deceased lived a life in accordance with God’s will, that the eternal hope is that, if the mourners also live in accordance with God’s will, one day there will be a happy reunion and so, we need not mourn, as those ‘without a hope.’

That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?

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