A recent loss in my life prompts me to quote this from Howard Jacobson:
“I know what I want from a funeral. I want desolation. Howl, howl. If it truly doesn’t matter whom we burn or bury next – for we are but a mote in Creation’s eye – then that is all the more terrible for the dead and all the more desolating for those of us still standing. The end of a life, if we believe a life has meaning, is a dreadful event. The end of a life, if we believe a life has no meaning, is a more dreadful event still. Twist it how you like, death is neither decorous nor rational nor humane….
At last, if we have been allowed to feel the enormity of a single lost life, there may follow a conviction of the grandeur of all lives. But nothing follows if we don’t first find word for the magnitude of our despair.
And for this you need the psalms and liturgies of the great religions”.
[Whatever It Is, I don’t Like It, Bloomsbury, 2011m pp.206-7].