Friday, April 29, 2016

Death and Ritual

Recently my husband received news that an old friend had passed unexpectedly. To our surprise, his ex-wife and only true family, aside from his teenage special needs daughter, had our friend's body cremated immediately with no honoring, memorial, funeral.....ritual to show respect as he crosses over.

My husband, the not religious type of man, seemed to understand the logic. But he too, was a bit taken aback at the decision not to allow his friends to honor him. I, myself, as a Jewish and spiritual woman, was aghast.

We honor our dead and to not even acknowledge the dead's life and contribution to the world and the people who crossed his path does not happen in my faith. In fact,this is very unacceptable,or, as my daughter says, a big no-no.  This has bothered me so much that, for days, I have recited the mourner's Kaddish for days know in hope that our friend will find his journey home.

My friend was not a religious man. However we did speak of G-d and how angry he was at him for allowing his daughter to be 'special needs' (even though he did take her to church). Also being a mother of two special needs daughter, I can understand his plight even if I never believed in the way that he did.

I know people have different viewpoints of the ritual of death and what happens afterwards

“And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to G‑d, who gave it.”

I know that the Earth is the symbol of physical life because G-d's essence lives within it which allows for one's soul to return to it.  I just feel that not allowing the spirit to naturally going through its process. Not allowing the ritual of closure to be fulfilled I feel is a rite we as the living should willingly give our deceased.

The expense of burials has become overwhelming. However I believe we should remember, in our death, those we leave behind and what happens to us in the hands of others may not be the best for our souls.

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