I understand that I am a strange animal (where humans are concerned anyhow). I enjoy funerals. Everyone I tell this to looks at me with a quizzical look and wonders who dropped me on my head as a child. But it's true, I enjoy funerals. And I think I came closer to understanding why yesterday.
I went to my friend Karen's funeral yesterday. It was a small affair with only about 20 people attending - she didn't have a lot of people in her life, and many did have couldn't travel on such short notice. A lot of her extended family is still in England, where her parents emigrated from. But it was one of the most heart-warming services I've ever been to. And the small number of people didn't reduce the amount of love being shared in the room. And that is the heart of why I like funerals ...
Let me explain.
There is sadness at funerals, undoubtedly, but there is an overwhelming, encompassing, enveloping feeling of love at funerals (at least the ones I've attended - obviously I can only comment on my experience). Because I tend to actually physically and psychically FEEL other people's emotions, I easily get overwhelmed in malls, universities, and large groups of people. And I always wondered how I could feel happier at a funeral when so many people were so sad - and when I was sad, upset and crying, too. But the thing is that you are enveloped in this calming love at a funeral. Not only that, but I do believe the deceased is there sending their love back to their friends and family. It's love, man. That's the only explanation I have at this point.
I was literally vibrating when I met a friend for dinner after the funeral. He must have thought I was nuts - I was talking a mile a minute as if I'd had about 3 cups of coffee. But it was just the residuals of all the love. Even the minister, who had never met Karen, was openly weeping hearing the family talk and watching the slides they had put together. The love was overwhelming.
And I always feel like family at funerals - especially yesterday. Karen's family invited me into the family room with them to chat and meet friends I hadn't met before. And I was seated right behind her mom and dad for the service. It made for a very intimate setting. And we all chatted like long lost relatives for a long time afterward.
So I thank them for making me feel so welcome and such a part of it all.
And now for what my son told me was "creepy". The night before the funeral I dreamed of 4 baby owls. One had crippled legs and was smaller than the rest. One was larger and had gnarled talons that need to be stretched out. I was responsible for taking care of them. In the dream I woke up one morning to find their cage empty. The little crippled one hadn't flown away but was happily sleeping on someones pillow like a cat. I don't know if I found the other three, but I wasn't worried about them.
I don't recall EVER dreaming about owls before (bears often, cats sometimes - but not owls). When I got to the chapel, there was a photo of Karen, the wooden box containing her ashes, and, on an easel beside the table, a large print of an owl flying out of a forest. Apparently, Karen loved owls. They were her spirit animal, I guess. Take from it what you will (that I'm crazy, perhaps), but I feel the dream had significance. And it made me feel closer to Karen.