Respect For the Dead

June 21, 2010

“Unto thy hands O Lord, we commend our spirit.” I patterned this prayer to Jesus’ seven last words on the cross which is “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.”

These words impart trusting a promise. These words assure that a Father is waiting in all channels of a journey. Here is believing in someone named “God and Creator.”

Death is a solemn passing when each one has to say “Goodbye, until we meet again…” That is if we believe, there is a Father we could run to and be home with forever.

If someone will die, he needs a sacrament and/or prayers preparing him to meet his God.

During the wake, a reunion of relatives and close friends come very solemn. Tears of joy and sadness blend in the atmosphere of acceptance and unselfish giving of the self to each other and the bereaved family.

Here is a story.

When my mother died this May 2010, I witnessed how everyone tried to help.

I saw in this brief special moments how her siblings, in their precedential years beheld each other. From different parts of the globe, for seven days, they came in as one family again, in one small funeral parlor, taking naps while sitting down, and cleaning up in one small comfort room. For one week, they forgot they had their own families, work, and other concerns just to attend to their dead sister. For one week, they left what they had built in life – and simply became one and ate with each other again. Coming from one small town with their cousins and friends, in that one house of prayer for the dead, they breathed meaning to life.

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But then, something happened. Some people around the block tried to borrow and pull out the water dispenser from the funeral parlor. Of course, people in the parlor were strangers from different places (town, countries), how can they say no?

I found myself in rage, because I knew that water was essential. A person can fast, but not thirst. Even Jesus uttered: “I am thirsty.” My point was, give some respect to the dead person and his/her bereaved family and/or tribe. Death happens, but the occasion of death must be solemn and kind. This point in life is sacred and you don’t mess up with something sacred. Death is sacred because it is a turning point. And perhaps everyone, even passers-by are blessed when they make reverence to a ritual.

Some senior citizens said, “Why are you so bitter? We never expected you’re like that.”

I said, “Because it’s a shame that you’re professionals and you’re acting as if you are uneducated people.”

“Okay, we will return the water dispenser now.”

“No, I won’t be needing it anymore.”

“Why, would you buy?”

I answered, “I don’t have money to buy that, that is why I am borrowing. I have made a request with Our Lady of Beautiful Love Parish that the water dispenser will be necessary for the wake.”

Later, my uncle and aunts told me, “Hey, have patience with them. You will also be a senior citizen!”

My siblings and relatives just laughed it out; but as for me, it was something people of all ages just have to learn: Respect, respect for the dead, his/her family and all his tribe.

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Rose Flores – Martinez

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