I’ve done some unexpected things as a Peace Corps Volunteer all of which pale in comparison to my day as a funeral photographer. I just wanted to help my family and they wanted pictures to remember this event.
I was hesitant to take pictures of people crying or saying their final goodbye. Grieving is such a personal experience. Also, I may have been grieving more for this woman who’s name I didn’t know until an hour into the 3rd day of the funeral celebration and whose casket was in a tent 5 feet from my house than many of the people present.
Death is just dealt with differently here and I think they may have it right or at least a way that’s less traumatizing than we do in the west. They accept it as a part of life. It’s not something to fall apart over. It’s a time to celebrate. I don’t want to paint a picture that there was no grieving because her children were completely destroyed the way anyone would be when they lose their mother.
I think I was successful. My Mama and Baba were very impressed with the photos and since I printed so many other family members and friends were able to get some. If I helped them celebrate her life than it was completely worth my discomfort.