rites and rituals make the world achievable, structured, thinkable.
lists go in threes, and if one is missing, we add the etc, just to complete the ritual of lists going in threes.
there is the personal morning ritual with the beverage and alarm, and hunting of socks,
and the greetings, and partings – the oil we pour on our social wheels to keep them turning. everyone must be noticed, all things must be set just right, the distances observed.
and then there are the larger social, communal rites – like weddings and funerals, which are essentially the same.
only in the wedding, the bride goes on to live like a zombie in the next world, and all the community testifies to that.
and in the funeral, the living unite in the face of the unknown to expel the dead from their midst.
to give them a ‘send-off’. to make sure this community is rid of the one who has ‘moved on’, learned the ultimate secret of this life.
and there are those who feel sadness, guilt and remorse at those events, mostly for themselves, bereft of the known, their security stolen, their life suddenly empty of all comfortable, everyday things. they have to learn to live with that emptiness, that hole in their universe, and there is nothing they can do about it.
funerals are communal events, the giving away of – no, not the corpse – the memory and the presence of someone who has been very much part of the life of the survivors.
survive – to live over, live longer than someone else. how beautifully put.