Funerals can be like Christmas, in that they can bring together family members who usually prefer to avoid one another.
Grief can make the best of us short tempered with seemingly minor things irritating and causing us to explode in anger, so when estranged family members meet at a funeral it doesn’t take much for tears of grief to transform to heated, angry words. We attended such a funeral with our doves the other week.
We didn’t see what triggered it, we just saw two family members head quickly to a car and try to drive away, presumably to avoid conflict. Unfortunately, their way was blocked; again unintentionally it seemed, by gathering mourners. But feelings were running high and voices were raised. Within seconds the car was surrounded, the occupants got out and anger erupted and engulfed several.
To his credit the Funeral Director was quick on the scene and made his way bravely into the middle of the melee. With more mourners joining in though, either to have their say or pull others away, the situation was escalating rapidly.
We opened our basket and got out one of our most mature and experienced doves, immediately gaining the attention of some of the crowd – an opportunity seized on by one of the daughter’s of the deceased, who grabbed a man in the middle of the throng and hurriedly steered him over to us.
“Is it time to bring attention back to your Mum and send her off with love?” I asked. I saw the shift in him as his focus changed. Slowly he nodded.
“Will you hold and pour love into this dove, to accompany your Mum on her final journey?” He nodded again, more readily this time, as he gently opened large hands that seconds before had formed hard fists.
Now with a completely different intent in mind, he tenderly gave his dove a kiss, and the mood of the crowd started to change. As he stood there lost in his thoughts, other family members joined him. Each was handed a dove with the same message:
“Will you hold and pour love into this dove, to accompany your Mum on her final journey?”
We now we had 5 smiling family members and a quietly expectant crowd of mourners watching on. It’s always lovely to hear the gasp of delight from the crowd as our doves fly but today the highlight was watching the relaxed faces and hearing the happy exchanges of the family members as they turned to one another afterwards, knowing that despite everything, they’d done their Mum proud.
Bless them, once again our feathered friends ensured everyone was left with a beautiful memory. A dove release is magic, it really is!