Friday, January 8, 2010

Berlin Pt.5: "Wir laufen" (We'll walk)

Sniffles softly pop inside the small cemetery chapel as a Sorbish song lifts upwards. The eulogy and the photos perched next to the urn and green pine wreaths made me wish I had met her, such a sliver of what everyone else must be feeling. We walk from the chapel to the grave site. When we had arrived to the cemetery, Mila pointed to the small bench near the grave site and said, "Opi can sit there when he comes to visit." I had just met him the night before and my heart broke to think of what it must be to lose your best friend, your partner in everything.
The sun had pierced through for a few minutes at the graveside. The small group of family lovingly scooped small handfuls of dirt, and mulled about hugging and speaking just shy of whispers. It didn't differ from any other funeral, yet I felt privileged to be there.
Instead of piling into cars, Mila's mother Suzi came to us and said, "Wir laufen, kommt ihr mit?" We backtracked the route Opi would be taking to come visit. The feeling from would have been smothered by the clicks, snaps and abrasive grinds of a car. The family exchanged stories of Helena and asked Mila and I questions as we walked. I can't explain the short walk other than to say, we could have walked to the North Sea at our pace. Not because we were fast, but because they and even myself seemed content and grateful just to be around one another, sharing that emotional load attached to loss.