Most of society is not comfortable about the subject of death. We do not like to think about it and we do not like to talk about it. It is not the subject of choice at social functions. We do not know what words to say to our friend who is grieving. We do not want to say the wrong thing or say something that will make the grieving person feel even sadder than he or she does already. What if we said something meant to comfort them and instead they start to cry? We would feel terrible. We do not want our friends to be sad or hurting inside. We do not understand that sometimes the person who is grieving for a loved one needs to talk about the person who has passed on, and share fond memories. Sometimes your friend just needs you to be there to listen. Sometimes all your friend needs from you is a hug. Sometimes just knowing you care is enough. You can never say the wrong thing if you say it from your heart and are sincere.
Why are we uncomfortable at funerals? I believe one reason is that when we attend a funeral of a loved one, we are forced to come to terms with our own mortality. This is especially true, the older we get, and the more we seem to be attending the funerals of our peers. Because we do not totally understand the process of death, we cannot imagine what it would be like and it is human nature to have a fear of the unknown.
In our culture, we put a great deal of emphasis on youth and physical appearance. We are terrified of the aging process. We spend millions of dollars on surgeries and products that promise us we can delay the aging process. We look in the mirror and lament every new gray hair and every new wrinkle. We think of ourselves as being only what we see reflected to us in the mirror. A physical body.
But, we are more than just a physical body. There are many parts that make us the person we are that are nonphysical. Our brain is physical, but our soul, our spirit, our mind, our emotions, and our thoughts are nonphysical. Both our physical parts and our nonphysical parts combine together to form our total being. A doctor could take an x-ray of our brain and could show us what our brain looked like. A doctor could not, however, show us what our mind looked like, or even where in the brain it could be found. A doctor could not point to the x-ray of our brain and say, "See that little spot right there? That is one of your thoughts." A thought is invisible because it is nonphysical. Yet, are not our thoughts very much a part of who we are?
Those of us who are here today are experiencing a feeling of loss and sadness because we will miss the physical presence of Ann Reed. But it will ease our sadness if we can look beyond the physical body and realize that our physical lives are only one manifestation of a soul's total expression and that each one of us has a nonphysical soul, mind, and thoughts as well as a physical body.