Feet are planted on the sodden earth. The milling around, jockeying for positions, too close, not far enough, has ended. Heads are bowed, hands are clasped or reach out to touch another. All are quiet, now, but that silence is shaken by the wind that picks up speed, sending hair and head coverings aloft. A multitude of hands pat things back in place, murmurings of comments are made and subside, back to the quiet of the morning.
The cantor speaks, and there spills out an evocation of the life they have all come to honor. There are drawn faces, lowered eyes, huddled bodies, all straining in listening to the words that belay what has been lost. And tears…there are tears, wiped up with crumpled tissues, or left to drip down, from eye to cheek, cheek to chin, chin to hang there, until they fall on the ground.
It is not the only moisture falling. Rain, which had passed by earlier, returns. A few drops splatter down on the mourners, or miss, taken by the grass. The drops from the sky turn to a drizzle; from drizzle, to a steady stream. Umbrellas are handed out by the cemetery man. Not everyone takes one. The cantor is protected, as is the widow and one of her children. The son lets the proceeding be, rain or shine, standing alone.
The prayers are done. The dirt is placed on the casket, shovel by shovel full. The ceremony is complete.
Hugs are given, sorrowed words are spoken, and all disperse back to their lives, away from the newly packed ground.