Sunday, March 14, 2010

Observations from a funeral

A frightening gift, or curse?

By Rob Carrigan,

“The Dullahan is possessed of supernatural sight. By holding his severed head aloft, he can see for vast distances across the countryside, even on the darkest night. Using this power, he can spy the house of a dying person, no matter where it lies. Although the dullahan has no head upon his shoulder, he carries it with him, either on the saddle-brow of his horse or upraised in his right hand. The head is the colour and texture of stale dough or mouldy cheese, and quite smooth. A hideous, idiotic grin splits the face from ear to ear, and the eyes, which are small and black, dart about like malignant flies. The entire head glows from the phosphorescence of decaying matter and the creature may use it as a lantern to guide its way along the darkened laneways of the Irish countryside. Wherever the Dullahan stops, a mortal dies.”
___ From Irish Legends at

Every funeral I go to is just one more reminder that we live life on a deadline.
I was talking to her about it, when I came home.
When I told her, she says, “Yes, It can slip away, that’s what I was talking about.”
She’s right, I guess. The years pile up. We should work harder for no regrets.

Remember, that every storyteller has a deadline.
Interesting choice or combination of words, that “deadline.” Nothing much remembered here on earth happens after that line is crossed.

The grieving father was asking a friend of his daughter's if she had learned anything, continuing on in a father’s role, needing to make sure a lesson was learned despite his own personal tragedy.

I got in line, realizing once again that I never have the right words to say to family members at a funeral, How amazingly awkward that conversation is. Yet always feeling compelled to pay respects in person, no matter how strained. Some of the burden lifts when the deed is done but it is still clumsy as hell.

Amazing Grace is the ultimate funeral song. If anyone is listening, play it at mine. Just the right hint of sadness mixed with the need to move on. … And bagpipes maybe.
How selfish that is? Me thinking of my own “last hurrah” as these folks say goodbye forever to a young kid.

I think of the girl and realize that I’m a bit out of place at this child’s funeral, as I didn’t really know her despite my extensive dealings with her dad.
No dad should have to bury his little girl. I can’t imagine the pain.

I think I met this girl once – at the end of meeting. Didn’t she stop by with another friend asking her father to do something? From the picture on the program, I will always believe it so.

And then there is that weird “far away eyes” thing. Yes. I did see her – and her eyes.

And I think I knew then, just like I did with the others. All the others, over the years.
I don’t see dead people. I see it — death, in their eyes, “Faraway eyes” before they go.
What a frightening gift … or curse.
Or am I just imagining it.
Please click on titles to see other related Irish stories.
• Connected? Who is related?
• You know more than myself.
• Irish loving and fighting.
• Irish Pat's walk through history.
• Luck and truth and chasing rainbows.

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