“Much better than a funeral”: so I lived a wake with my family in WhatsApp

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Ana is a friend I talk to almost every day, and who lives 600 miles away, I wrote today morning saying that he had killed his uncle.

I knew what the question was that I was going to ask, and I quickly clarified that it had nothing to do with the coronavirus. I had a kidney infection and spent a few days getting worse, until finally yesterday ended up dying.


In these times of quarantine and social distancing, situations like this can be made much more harsh it is not possible to get close to your loved ones to be able to give them a hug and to celebrate a ceremony that will serve as a farewell.

Had to resort to groups of WhatsApp and video calls to be able to be comforted, encouraged and given affection to each other. And it was then when Anna told me a phrase that left me totally amazed:

Image 3 4 20 12 44 Stuck

For a few seconds I could not believe what I was reading, but at the time I fell that I was right. With 36 years old, I had to go to a few funerals for family and loved ones, and have always seemed a bit morbid, and that in time to relieve the pain, only made to sink a little more.

Here we could open another debate, lawful and interesting. On the one hand, we live in an era of “use and throw”and a topic so delicate as to dismiss a loved one is not something that can or should be done lightly.

At the same time, spend more than 24 hours in a morgue and waving to people they don’t know it can be a culmination exhausting, both physically and psychologically. And worst of all, all this paraphernalia may not leave you time to do what really matters: talking about what you feel with your closest people.

Humor as a balm, both in real life as in the virtual

My friend has a group on WhatsApp with his three brothers and their cousin (the daughter of the deceased)and it was in this channel in which she reported that her father had died. “Give condolences to distance is difficult, but even more complicated when someone very close,” said Ana.

“Everything you say, when you see it written, it sounds to cliché”.

Had to make a decision for break that chain of messages “peliculeros”that may sound somewhat empty. It was at that moment when the older sister Anna decided to give a blow (virtual) on the table:

“So you know what you say although it sounds frivolous? The cabbage soup tonight is going to take for c***. We go to dinner ham Villanueva, in his honor, since we can’t go, we’re going to have to have a good present.”

It was then when began to emerge the humor as an antidoteremember stories of his uncle and of a possible “meeting in heaven” with the grandmother. “And from there, suddenly, we started to answer along the way with the jokes, and even puns typical that we have between us.”

“We rescue all and every one of the funny stories in common. ALL. Do not let us, nor a”.

As we see, the four brothers were trying to encourage her cousin these small details are unforgettable, that invisible thread that links you to other people. And, seeing the response of her cousin, it seems that it worked:

WhatsApp

Started compare this situation with that of a funeral parlour realwhen he died his grandmother and gave them an attack of laughter to see that “I was going to stop make-up, when we had not seen with lipstick in the life”. Again, the humor to the rescue.

whasapp

Ana (which is being very generous so that I can give life to this article) happens to me a audio that he sent his cousin Maite. His voice tired listing all the bureaucracy that is having to do, and this voice note ends with his broken voice saying:

“And I, attending to phone calls, the funeral home, with Santa Lucia, with the people that is calling me. But above all, I want to cater to this group.

Guys, I quiero….de truth….a kiss”.

It seems that the group of WhatsApp was working, but had to take it a step furtherso they decided to make a video call before dinner. Each one was in his home, cooking something special for feasting in honor of his uncle:

WhatsApp

“In the end is the way of being together that makes you feel good”, I account my friend. And that is in the group video call with your premium skipping all the typical questions, and to “make a situation that is not normal, so.”

“We did a kind of ‘viewing online’ and there was not a tear”.

Maite explained to them all the steps that he had to carry out with the crematorium. “He told us that they were going to save the ashes until the time comes to be able to go to fire them all together, when we can finally see ourselves without hurry”.

“It’s the best thing I’ve done in a long time”

Ana says that had the feeling of “all the good of a wake (see us, share the moment, to remember stories, to talk about anything and life…)” but at the same time “they saved all the bad things of the morgue: the physical place, the anticipation of knowing that you’re going to find people sad, to see the person who has died -that not everyone lives with the same peace-, the physical presence of the pain of the loss, the hugs that you pull down when you’ve climbed etc”

It is clear that there is no way “easy” or painless way to dismiss a loved one. Many times we complain, and with reason, of how messaging applications have changed the way in which we communicate with others. It comforts Me that in situations as complicated as this can become a refuge in which to find peace with your loved ones even if they are miles away”.

The last message that I sent to my friend sums it up perfectly:

“With my father cleaning out the camera because it was blurred, the other talking on the phone and in the foreground -because in hangouts, you see who is talking, the other placing thin ham, I making noise in the kitchen… resembled the cliché of the video call poorly organized and noisy and confusing. And at the same time, I know… it is the best thing I’ve done in a long time.”

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The news

“Much better than a funeral”: so I lived a wake with my family in WhatsApp

it was originally published in

Engadget

by
Santi Araujo

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"Much better than a funeral": so I lived a wake with my family in WhatsApp 1