I was at work today, feeling exhausted I sat down for lunch at the long table with my colleagues. As usual I only had a cup of tea as I don’t get my act ready before 5am to get any lunch together. I started chatting about my work and how often here in Australia we can’t face the word death. We talk about lost, passing, leaving but not usually the word dying. And one of my colleagues remarked that she noticed this phenomena herself when arriving from England to Australia. In fact she said that back home they celebrate death with rituals that last for weeks, unlike here in Australia. She said that death was called death and was usually close by with an elderly relative who shared the house space on their last days.
I remember when I attended a family funeral in England there was a tradition where the lead man (who ever he was) jumped out of the funeral car, top hat in hand held over his chest, he walked solemnly slowly in front of the funeral car. Through the local streets we drove in a circle, proudly saying goodbye to what was once the neighbourhood of the dead man. That was my first experience of a traditional English Celtic funeral procession. I wonder how much of our traditions have been lost since arriving in Australia. For me, this experience was like a final goodbye and a celebration of the man’s live. Honouring where he lived and worked and spent his time, a final goodbye to all of those people who shared this space with this man.
I feel a lot more research coming on….