I don’t think its easy to embrace a community until you go through the cycle of life. So far I’ve gone to four weddings, and two funerals, and watched a few babies come into this world here in Prague. They were not so different from what I’ve experienced back ‘home’. I can appreciate that this culture seems to know how to respond in a consistent way. The weddings are becoming more over the top – more people, more planned activities, more expense. The babies are a different story, but I believe that whole birth experience has changed throughout the years everywhere.
Its the funerals that weigh heavy on my mind. Not because they are so different. Although, the culture here seems to know that most will be cremated and most are not arranged through some religious ceremony. There are restaurants near the cemeteries that actually advertise that they can host ‘sad parties’. And the sad parties are not so much like my memory of death and funerals which were more like an Irish wake. They were a real party that lasts all day with tons of food and story telling all day long into the evening until you pass out.
No matter the difference, the loss is just as intense. My two favorite family members passed way during my last 8 years here in Prague. I adored these two people. First was Michal’s 88 year old father and second his most dearest cousin (too soon). I think of Bedrich and Lucie often. Mostly because I wish so much I could communicate with them better while they were alive. They seemed like my kindred spirits. I can’t explain it, but they were. Also, because at every family party that I attended (each with so much anxiety for me), I would see them quietly talking. Like they knew the secret of life. I would watch them from a distance and envy their closeness. Perhaps they understood something I didn’t. I definitely miss them. If only I had the language to ask them really what they were thinking….