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Thread: The mourning process in NZ

  1. #1
    jamesthecarman's Avatar
    jamesthecarman is offline Oh Masterful One
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    Default The mourning process in NZ

    Hey guys,

    Just had an interesting insight this week with the grieving/mourning process in NZ.

    A little background before I get into it, is that I started playing rugby a few months ago, and had learned a lot about how important it is in the community and such. And the guys have been really cool, and don't mind that I haven't played before.

    Well, to cut a long story short, one of our players was in a car accident late Saturday night and passed away. He was only 21. And quite possibly the best player on our team. He could play anywhere, and really gave it his all, all the time. He lived his life like that as well, living each day as his last.

    Anyway, we went over Sunday to his parents place after we had learned of it.

    And we went over again on Wednesday. They had him there in the lounge, with lots of gifts and momentos in his casket with him.

    Back home (in the US) I've never heard of having a loved one back home in the house for a few days before the funeral. To be honest, it was a little bit of a shock....but not in a bad way at all.

    I saw his sisters, brother, girlfriend, and some of his best mates either holding has hand, rubbing his cheeks, or stroking his hair. Which also would have been unheard of back home.....The mood changed outside of the house, as in the back yard there was a bit of a party celebrating his life, telling stories, etc.

    It made me think, this kind of a burial process can be a lot more healing, instead of just rushing them off to a funeral home and then burying/cremating them.

    My boss (who's Maori, and a rugby player...and very supportive this week) was telling me how for the islanders, funerals are a good excuse for a family reunion/party. Generally having the loved one back at the home is something islanders do, however it can also be done for a white NZ'er who was lost when they were young (as in BJ's case).

    We had the formal funeral earlier today, and pretty much the whole team was there. After tomorrow's game we'll have spent 4 days in a row together.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hope that all made sense. I had an idea of what I was going to write, but in the end I just put my fingers to the keyboard and started typing away. It's not as structured as I would have liked, but hopefully it made sense.

  2. #2
    MotherBear's Avatar
    MotherBear is offline The missing link
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    Interesting read, James. It's a bit like that here in the Middle East where the body is kept at home and there's a lot of chanting for 3 days when visitors call to pay their last respects, not just once but several times. Can't elaborate any more than that because I haven't witnessed it for myself, just heard hearsay from those who have been involved.
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  3. #3
    Ginabridget's Avatar
    Ginabridget is offline Senior Member
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    I never realised how different the morning process was in different places. I though it was different where completely different cultures were involved...well let me explain; my hubbys gran died a few months ago, I'm used to the NZ funeral where sure you mourn the deceased but you also celebrate their life.

    At my Gran-in-laws funeral every single person was dressed in black which is apparently the English (or perhaps northern) way to do it, which by the way my hubby didn't tell me about before-hand so I was forced to wear my winter coat throughout because it was the only black thing I had with me.

    I found it odd that the funeral of someone who had just reached 90 years of age and had a really full life didn't really celebrate her life, it was more focused on the fact that she had passed.

    I hope that makes sense and doesn't sound too harsh, I don't mean it to be.
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  4. #4
    nickydwuk's Avatar
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    Different cultures mourn differently and some cultures have to bury their dead within 24 hours. This caused a problem for me one weekend when I worked at the hospital. A muslim lady passed away on the Saturday morning with her whole family around. As it was the weekend there were hardly any doctors or porters around. We needed a doctor to certify the death and then to fill out the forms so the body could be released to the mortuary. By the time he doctor was available to sign the release form it was the evening and then we had to locate a porter to take her to the mortuary. The family were getting very distressed because they wanted her home to mourn before she was buried/cremated the next day. When the porter finally arrived he said that as it was the weekend he could not release the body to the undertakers at 9pm and would have to be the next day. This was very traumatic for the family and I spent hours on the phone trying to resolve the issue. I went off duty before it was resolved. As Brits we are used to waiting over a week for a burial so to rush it through like this caused a lot of distress.

    I suppose if we are to live in another country such as NZ we should learn their ways so we can help support those going through this process.
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  5. #5
    jamesthecarman's Avatar
    jamesthecarman is offline Oh Masterful One
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    Speaking of undertakers, we have one on the team. At first when someone referred to the 'undertaker' I thought it was just his nickname, b/c of the way he played or something like that.

    But he actually is an undertaker. It's been the family business for years.

    It's been interesting seeing him talk to the family. Wasn't expecting he'd do it in front of us all. He was professional and caring about it.....anyway, it gave yet another insight into how things are done here.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The last part of the funeral they put the coffin in the car, and about 25 or 30 boys from his high school did their high school's haka. Needless to say it was the most moving/passionate haka I've seen.

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    selchie's Avatar
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    I'm sorry for the loss of your teammate, James.

    It sounds like a variation on a good old-fashioned wake & funeral. That's rather like what I'd like to have after I die, though I wouldn't be able to "enjoy" it. Most every funeral I've been to has been so stilted & not condusive to either mourning the loss or celebrating the life.
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