A Post to catch up – this is a tougher one to write.
The death of our friend in Natal last week caused me to do some thinking on paper… Here it is
– The US protects families at death – although there is a cost for it.
Brazil does NOT protect families.
I’m not saying one way is better than the other.
Both are difficult, for they each involve deep loss.
I will share some of the realities of death in Brazil that we have experienced: without sharing all the emotions,
When a loved one passes on, the body they leave behind has to be buried within 24 hours Normally embalming is not used.
Therefore, there is no luxury of extra time. You can figure out the math. 24 hours means 24 hours.
Someone in the family has to sign the papers for the body to be picked up from the home or from the hospital. The body is prepared (many times by the family), put into the casket and the hearse will take it to the cemetery. If there is enough time on the clock, the family may choose to have an open casket at a funeral home or a larger area such as a gymnasium, when there is a large crowd of friends. Sometimes the family only wants the closest friends, and they do a simple service in their home before going to the cemetery.
How does one notify family and friends of the death? Primarily by phone and texting, sometimes spot ads on a radio station.
Wherever a person is when they hear, all plans are dropped and they go to where the family is – standing by the casket.
People leave their jobs for the time necessary.
The body is taken to the cemetery. There, the grave diggers have prepared for the casket (no linings in the grave to hide the dirt. no reams of flowers. Worn ropes are holding the casket in place. Words of comfort and hope are spoken: prayers, then the moment comes all have dreaded. The casket is lowered, there is a thump as it hits the bottom, the ropes are pulled out and the family throws the first handfuls of dirt onto the casket, some may have a flower to throw, then those who are there turn tearfully away, leaving the loved one’s body behind. Depending upon the cemetery, the grave diggers may start throwing shovelfuls of dirt onto the casket immediately. I’ve been there when they did that, and it about killed me to hear and see that happen.
I was leaving someone I loved – no, not the person, but the body. But I knew that body.
This latter part is not different in Brazil ,in the states, in any country/
.We leave. but our loved one doesn’t come with us.
However – amidst the tears, there is HOPE. The longing for the day when we will all be together once again in the presence of the Lord, united in joy, moving into the next phase of our lives. We only have brief glimpses of what that life will be: but those glimpses are enough to make me excited and to look forward to that day!!!
The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in the green pastures.
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
I will fear no evil.
His rod and His staff – they comfort me. . ..
part of Psalms 23