Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bit by Bit - Chapter 6, Part 20

Trey Smith

After some time had passed without event, Master Sang-hu died. He had not yet been buried when Confucius, hearing of his death, sent Tzu-kung to assist at the funeral. When Tzu-kung arrived, he found one of the dead man's friends weaving frames for silkworms, while the other strummed a lute. Joining their voices, they sang this song:

Ah, Sang-hu!
Ah, Sang-hu!
You have gone back to your true form
While we remain as men, O!

Tzu-kung hastened forward and said, "May I be so bold as to ask what sort of ceremony this is - singing in the very presence of the corpse?"

The two men looked at each other and laughed. "What does this man know of the meaning of ceremony?" they said.

~ Burton Watson translation ~
As I've related before, at one time in my life, I contemplated what I might like for my own funeral. I picked particular songs and music. I sort of had an idea where I would like it to be held.

But then a thought occurred to me: I will be dead! At that juncture, what difference does it make? If someone played my preferred music choices out of order, I wouldn't know the difference!

It was at that moment that I realized the obvious: Funerals are for the living, not the dead. So, I've told Della that, if I precede her in death, she can do whatever the hell she wants for my funeral or memorial service.

To view the Index page for this series, go here.

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