We had the funeral today. It was a very private event, to the extent that it is possible to make it private in this culture. All N and I could deal with at this point was going to the cemetery alone and spending some time there together.

In this country, cemeteries are a lot more integrated into daily life than in my culture. I’m used to cemeteries being secluded, hidden behind trees, obscured from view. Our local cemetery, on the other hand, is located right in front of an entertainment complex. There is also a residential area consisting of very expensive mansions facing it. I have no idea how people manage to spend their lives staring at graves and funeral processions.

The cemetery markets itself as a place where people should come to take walks “in a peaceful, beautiful setting filled with exotic geese and ducks.” And people do come for that purpose even though we have beautiful hiking trails and flower-filled university gardens where there are no graves or grieving folks.

I’m used to graves being separated from each other with fences and gates. Here, however, all graves sit together (and sometimes even on top of each other, as we were told today), so there is no way to signal that company is not welcome.

It took us forever to get rid of people who wanted to offer us rides back to the funeral home (across 200 feet of space), pray with us, tell us about their church, stare at us, or engage in a conversation.

When we were finally left on peace, we talked and cried together. We felt completely exhausted after that because grief is strangely tiring. But we also felt better. On our way from the cemetery I felt like the burden of grief had become lighter because we left some of it back there.