My brother Roland’s funeral was yesterday. It was a big shock to see him go so soon and so quickly, and so everyone in the family has had a hard time coping with his death.
My brother told us to carry on if he were to go first. Go on with your lives, he would say, don’t mourn me, don’t feel sorry, just keep going. Its a great sentiment, and I knew he meant every word, but in practice, it is a lot harder to do. Every time I convinced myself that I was done crying, the tears would start rolling again after seeing old friends, or hearing the wails of our mother and his widow. Something I noticed during the funeral Mass helped me out a lot, though:
Growing up I was in the church choir (don’t be too impressed, we only had like 5 people) and during his funeral Mass, the choir played the song “Pescador de Hombres” (Fisher of Men) which I tried to sing. It is a song I am familiar with and so I didn’t think it would be a problem. At first, though, my voice was pretty awful and I would choke up at the line “En la arena/he dejado me barca” (In the sand/I leave my boat) because it made me think about my brother and his fishing boat. I kept on trying, though, and the song became a little bit easier to sing with each verse. By the fourth one, I was mostly back to form, I would still tear up a bit but I managed to hold it together for the rest of the song.
Moving on from my brother’s death is going to be like that. It will be hard at first, but as I keep trying eventually the pain will reduce to the point where will be able to go on without him. It won’t be easy, but I will reach that point eventually.
Judging from the number of people that showed up for the funeral, I could tell that my brother had clearly touched the lives of many people. I was glad for the time that we had together, but now that he’s gone, I’ll keep moving forward as best I can…just like I did when I was singing that song. Good-bye big brother…thanks for everything.