BIG BLACK CAR
I went to a funeral the other day. A funeral of a dear colleague that has passed away all too early. It took place in a church in Copenhagen. Flowers, lots of flowers in bright colors and a rather large crowd of family, friends and colleagues. All sad and quiet. Dressed in black. A priest conducting ceremony and giving a sermon. Everything precicely as it should be. What it gave us was a situation to let our grief out, collectively and to each other. What was going on provided us with a platform for our grief. That is relevant and necessary.
The religious part of the ceremony left me a bit detached; I don’t know if that person was religious or how she related to Christianity. The praying and singing seemed dark and heavy compared with the lighthearted humour and precise intellectuality that she always shone with. The personal part of the sermon was far from personal – what chance does a priest, who don’t know that person, have to give a personal speech?
The most touching part of the ceremony – the heartbreaking moment of absolutely no return – came after the coffin was placed in the funeral car, waiting outside of the church. When that big black car left the church gate and drove off into the Copenhagen traffic. The monumental loss we all felt was materialised in the image of the car disappearing, dissolving into the mundane traffic out in the streets. This disappearance send a collective shiver of heavy sadness through us all and left us there standing, gazing into the nothingness of death.
This was my third funeral in a couple of years and it has happened every time. No matter what was going on inside the church, it was the moment the black funeral car drove off with the dead person, that felt worst. This was the moment when loss became manifest. The moment of complete loss. A life dissolving into the mundane systems of society. Traffic. Nothing else. No where. Gone.
She is gone.