Today school got out at 1:30pm for a funeral service for two of our teacher's youngest son. He died in the company of his family before the age of one. The church was packed to mourn the loss of the affectionately nicknamed "Lil Guy." The service was very nice and upbeat throughout. Pastor Hanna said some good words. Regardless I don't particularly like days where I attend a baby funeral and view the body of an infant. I've never dealt with death well. I don't usually cry. Its not that I fear it, its actually something that has always bothered me because I usually seem to feel numb about it. I had never seen a body until I came here to Mekoryuk. Now I've seen three in eight months and each time it makes me uncomfortable. Death is so definite and universal. I think its the stillness that affects me the most. The family was strong and seemed very grateful for all the community support.
After the tiny casket was buried on the hill overlooking the ocean, there was a large potluck in the school gymnasium. Everyone ate themselves to capacity and it was a very joyful time. Musk Ox, Reindeer, salmon, cake, pasta, soda, meatloaf, ham, turkey, salads, gamy soups, I can't remember the last time I ate so much. There were children playing, elders laughing, teen agers trying to be cool. I think that its one of the semi comforting truths about the loss of life, even in great pain life will continue. I think it is the simple fact that this life is definite that makes the necessity for hope so powerful. I'm getting better at adapting church teachings to my life. One of the things that was said at the service was how when you love children, sick children, helpless children, or needy people in general, you are really loving and helping Jesus/God and you will be rewarded in the end. I kind of interpreted it as the act of loving and helping the sick, poor, unfortunate or in need, your really are loving the goodness of humanity and in turn helping yourself better reflect and live out your meaning and that is your reward. Small children, babies, the mentally disabled are really just the only true innocent free souls on earth and the older we get the more we try to get back to that feeling. By watching the little ones, the simple ones, the laughing and playing ones and even the sick ones we are really learning little gifts of how to get back to that important blissful state of youth. I think that is what the power of a community is, how, against all odds, children are cared for. Some communities are powerful. Some are weak. Either way the children play, and laugh and smile until they can no longer. The power of community is the happiness of the children.
Despite the confronting of the death of a baby today, it was an alright day. The sunshine was spectacular and the air is bitter cold. Thankfully loss seems to bring out the good and civility in all of us for at least one day.