Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Funerals and mourning

Sadly, I’ve been to two funerals in the past 6 months here. One was in December, and the other was just recently, at the end of April. And there’s been another death just a week and a half ago, where I wasn’t able to attend the funeral. Man, it hurts when people leave us! Everyone is so unique and irreplaceable; there is no-one in the world just like anyone else.

Well funerals are quite different here in PNG. On the day of the death, you can go to the village and see the body in an open casket. When you arrive, you go to the coffin, see the dead person and cry loudly.

Funerals and deaths aren’t something that you can really say you ‘like’, but I like how people can pour out their grief at funerals here, and don’t have to try and keep their composure. When I go to funerals (or ‘Celebration of x’s life’ services) in Australia, I get upset when I hear the stories of the person’s life and I want to cry because they’re gone. It would be so nice to be allowed to freely release my grief, rather than keeping quiet.

Now that I’ve attended funerals in Bougainville and been able to mourn properly, I don’t know how I’ll cope when I have to attend a funeral in Australia again. (In fact, I don’t know how spouses or children keep their composure when giving the eulogy speech, or when being hugged by people after the service. The last service I was at in Australia, I hugged the spouse and quickly disappeared. If I had said anything, I would have just started crying.)

I don’t have any funeral specific photos to share with you. I don’t really like getting my camera out and looking touristy at funerals, although local people who own cameras don’t seem to have problems with it. But anyway, here’s a photo of an inland village, Teobuhin, which I went to for the first time in December for a funeral. You can see several cars, which wouldn’t normally be there. There was more than usual because of the funeral (we travelled there by car/truck).

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