We knew this day would come and it did.
When our oldest die, we can see it coming and yet we’re always caught short.
It seems hardly possible to attend a funeral without imagining one’s own.
My funeral experience is limited. Today was the first time I saw the casket lowered into the ground, the flowers offered to accompany it, a tablespoon of dirt proffered to complete the ritual.
Ultimately the people collected in the room share some connection to this one person. We may not know each other. we know that we cared about this one person enough to be here at this final gathering.
At the meal afterwards, one dear old friend of my departed mother-in-law told me that Mama regularly read my poems to her on the phone.
Another close friend of Mama’s told me how proud Maria was of me. That it meant so much to her that we remained close even after I separated from her son.
My oldest friend in Vienna sang the most beautiful rendition of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and I thought about how this single friend has seen me through all the rites of my adulthood – 2 weddings, 2 births, one divorce and now one funeral. Such a blessing to have that kind of person in one’s life – a living testament saying “you were here.”
My 10 year old remarked: “that was a pretty happy funeral.” Meaning that he noticed and took part in the sense of fellowship that followed the ceremony. He felt his place, observed his own belonging.
One life less among us. And we say thank you that you spent your precious hours on us. We celebrate that you were here and grieve that you are no more.