What’s a Funeral For?

“I wonder why nobody can’t just die anymore.”

That’s the opening in-your-face line of Edward Baugh’s “Obituary Page” from his new collection entitled Black Sand. And while my post’s title plays on another poem in the collection called “What’s Poetry For?” I couldn’t help meditating on the so-true factor in the former.

Do you notice that funeral settings aren’t the same anymore? WHY?

I haven’t been exposed to many cultures but that in Jamaica is some brow-knitting business indeed. We used to be such solemn people that a funeral equaled a sea of black (clothes, flags, even the dog), whole heap a bawling, and RESPECT (somewhat) for the dead. Now is just… I don’t even  know what lef outta dat nowadays.

The most interesting thing about funerals is that people find time to take pictures of themselves and the dead AND post them on social media just to say them life exciting cuz somebody dead and them deh-deh. REEEALLY?

And I don’t mean ordinary pictures. Like legitimate poster/glamour photos showing off the latest designer shoes, the new hairstyle, the bashy watch, the boasty finger nail dem, the new boyfriend, the temporary girlfriend, the cris’ car inna the background, oh and the rum bottle (because yuh nuh cool unless yuh did get some rum). REEEALLY? WHY?

Where’s the respect for the dead? More importantly, where’s the respect for God?? Isn’t it still a church? Don’t you still say prayers? Don’t you still pray God carry Mas Zachy safely to Heaven’s gate and don’t mind too much all him wild days and the young, firm body girls him cheat on ole Auntie Mavis wid?

Now I’m not saying don’t celebrate the memories of that life, nor am I saying you necessarily have to bawl your eyes out, but the ceremony is transitory. It’s only being held ONE DAY. Follow the proceedings accordingly nuh, then wait till the weekend (or whichever day comes next) to do the rest nuh. Sumn! Lawd man.

In any case, I know things and times change and I understand. (That still doesn’t give the girls permission to wear go-go dresses in church, nor should sex be happening in the backseat at the grave site). But tell me nuh, please, what’s a funeral for?


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