Last week, we went to a funeral, a woman who was the beloved grandmother and mother of close friends of ours. In Sweden, men wear black suits with black or white ties and everyone carries a flower or bouquet - in most cases, a single white rose - that is laid on the coffin one by one as each mourner walks past and pays respect toward the end of the service.
Though I hardly knew her, I shed a few tears, mostly at my friends' pain.
The way we mark death is so peculiar, invoking God with a few weakly sung psalms, and then coffee and sandwiches and sherry and small talk. Death has been so removed from life, we really don't know what to make of it. Not that I have any decent alternative to what we do.
Maybe getting good and drunk and accidental rending of garments?
The Swedish word for the day is tvärtom. It means on the contrary.
- by Francis S.