“You will read what’s on the paper”, he says to the young woman in front of him – in front of all the people sitting, watching. The young woman, in her twenties, smiles politely and responds in a voice that seems to trail off into the immense heights of the ancient cathedral, “I know. But I was just going to read this first.” She uses her index finger to indicate the crinkled, hand-written eulogy on the pulpit in front of her – a piece dedicated to her grandmother, a woman now passed after fighting years of Parkinson’s disease. The priest, dressed in a ceremonial gown of pure and undefiled white, moves in closer to the young woman, now sharing the same air that she breathes. His look intensifies as he slowly pronounces each word of his unwavering position, “you will read what is on the page”. The priest points to the binder of laminated biblical passages previously selected in a handful of meetings between clergy and family prior to the funeral. As she stares back at him, there is a short-lived but courageous moment of pure defiance in her eyes before she turns, defeated and humiliated, to read the verses. She now knows that the moments she spent pouring out her heart into the lines in front of her have all been for naught. She takes a deep breath and takes a brief look at the audience of fellow mourners, before quickly returning her eyes to the words touching the priests rigid index finger.
But the words do not come out...Read More