Yesterday I went to a wake for someone who died entirely too young and under circumstances that were entirely too tragic. There's been entirely too much of this sort of thing in my life as of late, and it's really starting to wear down what little reserves I have left. On this side of heaven, there is just nothing that makes this OK. It's not OK. What do you say to his mom? What do you say to strangers who don't understand? What do you say to God?
In theory, our American death, dying, and burial traditions are designed to facilitate personal closure, the ability to say goodbye, and provide support to the bereaved. Perhaps they accomplish this sometimes. However, I've often seen the chaos and hassle of arrangements be too overwhelming for those suffering loss. I've also seen the hours upon hours of sitting in a room with a loved one who isn't really there anymore, while trying to play hostess, simply amount to torture for the grieving.
This family did something I've heard of, but not personally seen. They had T-shirts made in honor of their lost loved one. Colorful, airbrushed, personalized T-shirts with his picture and a carefully selected Bible verse. Perhaps I'm biased because of my love for the creative, but I just felt this was a beautiful way to mourn. Is there a loss in your life that you would like to honor by creating something? What would you create?