Updated: Apr 30, 2022
Funerals, an atmosphere of despair and death. The very air breathed in felt like death that was whispering to you too. The color black took over the people and atmosphere. Like how all the colors get absorbed and destroyed reflecting only a colorless black shade. All the light, hope, and joy in the people's hearts were in that moment absorbed and destroyed. The overwhelming fact of death, loss, anger, and grief gripped and clung to everyone. No one can escape it, yet all try to run from it, one way or another. The color black was in control as it march the black coffin down the aisle, held by people dressed in black with dark faces. The bright sun felt like mocking betrayal and you wish it would be overtaken by darkness and cry, just to feel black too. How can you shine so brightly when darkness is inescapable. Anger at the good things, at the memories at the light, and the desire to rid yourself of them to feel the anguish of life.
For this very reason I have always hated death and funerals, but it was more than the darkness that seemed to capture the room. It was knowing that goodbye was the only option. No more hellos, no more second chances, no more hugs, no more smiles, no more yelling.. it was just gone and all that is left to say is goodbye. It was knowing that it is inescapable fact of life. I couldn't help but calculate where the dead bodies lay when I entered a graveyard, make sure to jump, walk around but never step where someone could be laid to rest. The idea is that if I get too close to it if I let it touch me, it will make me black faster. When my great grandma died I was the only one who hide on the other side of the room, fighting the urge, the need to run away, take a shower and make sure to cough out all the air in my lungs, just to get the death off and out of me. I am the only one in my family who refused to look at a dead body, even though everyone is praised for being brave when they do. I hate funeral homes. I hate death. I hate goodbyes. They seem to cling to you whispering a sad inescapable melody of not being able to escape. We cannot escape death or goodbyes and this is why I love the color black.
It makes me feel seen and understood. In moments of anguish, despair, grief it is there to say I see you, it's ok. Unlike the bright sun who seems to diminish everything as it says it'll all be ok trying to make you white when you are dying inside. The funny thing is I used to be afraid to die; I'm not anymore but I still felt the same need to rid myself of any contact with death. This is why this blog post is ironic because something big in my life died and for the first time I understand why all the people in the movies and in real life linger and cling to what is gone and dead. I finally understand why they rather let black take over than face the sun. I finally understand why they rather not shower but stay that way as long as possible. For the first time instead of moving on fast, cleaning myself of death, I clung to it. I clung to my family who I may never see again. I clung to the way snow smells when we go sledding together even though I may never get that again. I clung to the pain, the yelling, and more. I clung to the life and who I used to be just to be close to them, because if we cling long enough then I don't have to face the reality of goodbye. I can pretend hello, familiarity, the memories can still happen. I can pretend I'm still with them. I can pretend I'm the same person they love and have always known, even when I have completely changed. I can pretend that hearing their voices or seeing their faces doesn't make me break and instantly make me hate the sun. If I cling and wrap myself in death then it feels like life that was there I can still hold even when I'm only grasping lifeless air.
I hate funerals and I hate goodbyes but now I hate black funerals. Black is safe, it is comfortable, it tells me it's ok to cling, it tells me I'm loved and seen but it lies. Black was always a part of the funeral, I just never expected that by listening to it I also allowed it to stay. My sunny days could be taken over in an instant with just a reminder of what I had lost. Black never missed the chance to block my sun. Black never missed the chance to walk me down that aisle absorbing me into that darkness again.
The sun I hated that day, that felt like betrayal was actually my friend. It still attended my sadness but it never let me get consumed by it. It still shone even when I cursed, yelled, and hated it for being so bright when I felt no light. It shone not for itself but for me. It shone to remind me of all I had and all it brought. It shone to make me think of all the times I smiled, which only made me smile even as pain caused tears to streak down my face. It shone to bring life to all the laughter I had laughed. It shone to show me that even on the darkest day possible there is still life after death. A life that lives on inside of us as we remember, and life eternal with Christ. It shone so that I would always be able to escape black.
Today I attended two funerals. I didn't wear black but instead wore soft colors that reminded me of the warmth, love, and joy of the past and the future to come. I didn't walk down the aisle in an atmosphere of death but peace, as I said goodbye. Goodbye to the past I refused to lay to rest. Goodbye to who I used to be, to the grip of sadness that kept me colorless. I didn't feel the urge to wash myself of death or cough out all the air in my lungs or continue to jump over all the areas where death has touched. Instead, I sat down on that first grave, where the girl it was assigned to refused to rest. I let her cry, I let her feel the urge to destroy, I let her scream, I told her that it's ok she felt like the color black. I gave her a voice and told her I finally heard her, but she can't stay anymore. I couldn't let her continue to control and make the world black. I told her I wouldn't forget what she went through, I wouldn't forget her feelings happened and were real. That despite this goodbye she was loved. Then I left her there to rest.
Then I went to the second grave and I dug it up. I dug up the little girl I barred alive. As I held her I looked at her and I told her a story. A story of all the good times and all the bad times. I told her how much I had hated her, tried to destroy her because it hurt too much as she was always trying to be the sun in my black dead world. I told her about the color black and all that happened. I apologized for letting the color black blind me from seeing her, for letting myself let death destroy life too; all the white, the light, and life she had. I thanked her for being there even when I didn't want her to be. I told her how much I love her, how I will cling to all the light in her and make sure that her light and life lives on. I asked her to come back to life and show me how to shine. She didn't move, she stayed lifeless and gone. You can't say hello again after death without only clinging to what's already gone. I will never get her back, no matter how much I remember her. No matter how many times I replay the good times, or I try to make them happen again. Good and bad they are both gone. But I can do what the air whispered today at that funeral. Live.
I don't want to live in a black or white world anymore. I don't want my black days to be unattended by the sun, and I don't want my days of white to forget the black days. They are both important, they are both loved, treasured, and important. They both are at rest and in that rest, I find a world full of color. Of joy and sadness, of life and death, of white and black. I find the reality of life. Life isn't black or white it is an array of colors and each color is loved, seen, important, alive. I'm not sure what living in this colorful world will be like but I can't wait to just live this new life.
Goodbye to say, Hello.