Monday, April 24, 2006

Notice

I'm here, but I've got a very bad cold.

I noticed today that a man downstairs must have passed away very recently. All around the neighbourhood are posters pasted on the walls with his photo on them and many, many people were standing around downstairs by his door. Everyone was dressed in somber looking clothes and some women had a flower or two in their hands. Out on the main boulevard was a big black hearse. It was very unlike our funerals in Canada which are always held in a 'funeral home', never in your own home. We tend to keep death at a distance, and a dead body would never be kept at home. Here, on the other hand, you are allowed to grieve in your natural environment, surrounded only by those who knew and loved the deceased. It all seems more natural to me.

16 comments:

Ginnie said...

Yes, TO, it IS more natural. I was in Guatemala once and saw caskets on view in storefront windows downtown and couldn't help but wonder why we in North America keep death and dying so "removed" from us. THAT'S what's unnatural.

So sorry you have a cold. Please pamper yourself and get better soon!

Turtle Guy said...

I suppose "natural" is what you're comfortable with. I do agree with you in that we tend to keep death at a distance. It's something "taboo" for some reason, however natural.

ITS said...

You probably don't know about that the women inside are probably lament-crying at the top of their lungs for hours besides the open cascket.

It is a stomach grinding sound that haunts you forever. Meh... funerals are disturbing wherever they happen, and I prefer the colder North American approach, personally.

Expat Traveler said...

i hope you feel better fast! And wow, that is different.

traveller one said...

In Romania there were casket makers in every neighbourhood and they would have the caskets outside of their shops leaning on the windows.It always surprised me!

Nicola said...

Hope you feel better soon ......

What a nice way to have a funeral .

hockeyman said...

I like the posters in the neighbourhood idea...certainly it allows you to celebrate and honor the dead... Of course if you were not really that nice a person it does allow the anonymous to tell the world that you will rot in hell.

but the commenters are right..what a nice way to have a funeral

hockeyman said...

You have to love shopping in Albania through Kim's eyes... you can buy the casket and sell the poor guys shoes on the same street corner

Annika said...

I just noticed that your link to my blog is kinda outdated - I moved a month ago, and the new address is http://expatsinitaly.com/annika .

Hope you'll recover from your cold soon!

verniciousknids said...

Do they have good cold and flu meds in Albania? It took me ages to find any decent stuff in Japan! Odaiji ni...take care of your health!

ITS said...

"Do they have good cold and flu meds in Albania? "

They hand you a bottle of Windex!

-Oh wait that's another country... :D

traveller one said...

Thanks Nicola and Annika... I felt well enough to go bowling yesterday so that's a good sign. Still not quite myself but on the mend, and without any windex (what is that all about ITS??)
Hockeyman... You're too funny!

EllasDevil said...

Did you never see "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" ? - The father in that film would swear that windex would cure everything no matter how big or small!

(Ironically at the end, the groom to be gets a zit and when the bride askes him where he is, he replies "oh I put windex on it".)

I dunno how you'd use windex to cure a cold, I'm sure swallowing it would either kill or cure you! :-)

traveller one said...

Oh yeah.... thanks for reminding me ED!

Milena said...

Well, the last years funerals in Albania (or at least in Tirana) have become "colder". Now it's quite difficult to see the open casket when you go visiting the home of a dead person. I think that's a good thing, but I hope we will never be so cold to use a 'funeral home'.

Anonymous said...

If by "colder" one means that the family of the deceased does not have to have the dead corpse lying in the next room in an open casket, why, by all means, I like "colder". A family home provides a service to the family of the deceased, instead of having a chaotic service at home. The service allows for a few hours for others to pay their respects. A few weeks ago, the grandmother of a close friend passed away. Two weeks later people are still visiting to pay their respects. Oftentimes, more than once. Someone still has to make the turkish coffee, but I don't think that the removal of the corpse is a way to distance oneself from death and grieving. Funeral homes are not common in Albania because it is a new service, and sometimes the western world mistakes our failure to provide these services with tradition. It is not a tradition to keep the corpse in the house, but what else are we supposed to do? At least now, there is a choice.