Which is a word, believe it or not, that has been taken over from the German, as is, into English: who knew?
Very appropriate that this be the word of the day today when I opened my e-mails, especially after yesterday’s blog and my recent experiences.
Gemeinschaft means social relations that are based upon not only kinship, but also social ties and personal affection: community.
We have often heard the expression, concerning the raising of children, that it takes a community: I have learned that it also takes a community to bury someone. It takes willing hearts and hands to help clean out a home; to help the immediate family and small villages seem to provide the best.
The reason for funeral services, memorial services or even a simple gathering at the cemetery or to strew ashes, is to comfort those left behind, to draw them into the greater strength of a group, to allow all to share in the remembrance of the deceased person.
Animals hide away to die; in old Indian cultures, the elderly would decide upon their “time”, hold a ceremony that allowed them to say goodbye then wander off to their favourite (often highest) point and allow nature to take its course. The moral and mental strength that took is mind-boggling to us today.
We, as a Gemeinschaft, are hopefully learning every day - and especially in sorrowful circumstances – to come together, to assist each other, to become and remain: a community.