So. We went to the funeral, Mr. Moon and I. I wore a dress that I wore when I was in the first play I was ever in at the Opera House, a rather vapid and silly play called "Ladies of the Garden Club" which was important for me in that I got my foot in the door and realized I could do this and that I liked doing it and that I wanted to do it some more. And also, I got to meet some lovely people, Jan being one of them.
She had replaced a character in the play who had health problems and she ended up stealing the show. I'll never forget that. She played a very old lady and every time she sat down, she spent approximately ten minutes doing it and the audience held its collective breath every time.
She was funny as hell.
That was before she and Jack were together and yet, they were somehow together and as I have said before, I thought they were a couple before I realized that Jan was married to another man and Jack was married to another woman and, well, that was then.
Today Jack sat in the front pew of the very pretty little Episcopalian church in Monticello where he and Jan were regular attendees with his family beside him. I saw lots of people I knew from being in plays with them and also sat right next to the man who had been at Kathleen's house right after she died as he is a hospice chaplain. He's also been in plays at the Opera House but I had never worked with him. Still it was a bit odd, sitting there next to him, remembering that it had been two years ago exactly, the last time I'd seen him.
It was, I assume, a very proper Episcopalian service although the sermon was given by Jan and Jack's good friend Ron, a Methodist minister, the same man who had married them. I've been in plays with both him and his wife and he gave a good sermon and there were spaces and places for laughter. There was lovely music and there was much shuffling of the hymnal and the Book of Common Prayer and there was the giving of peace and there was Communion which of course I did not take and there were prayers and words of faith and belief.
And then we gathered in the memory garden of the church and Jan's ashes were laid to rest and then we all went into the fellowship hall for food and hugs and talk and memories and stories told and retold. Catching up, remembering when.
I realized, as we talked, that I was in quite a few productions at the Opera House with the Stage Company. Between plays and radio shows I don't even know how many but it was lovely to remember all of that, the period of time when I actually "played" and how much fun we all had and I am almost certain that Jack and Jan were involved in every play I was in, either as directors or fellow actors.
I hugged Jack hard and he smiled his sweet Jack smile and said, "I didn't know if you'd come!"
"Of course I came!" I said. "Why wouldn't I?"
"Oh, I know how you feel about churches," he said.
Jack is one of those church-goers who doesn't care if you are one or not. His faith is his own and he doesn't judge you at all on whether or not you share it.
"Well, lightening didn't strike the church," he said.
"This is true," I said.
"Proof that there is a loving god," he said, with another laugh.
"That's one interpretation," I told him and he laughed again.
And so that was it. We came together, our little band of players and other people who have known and loved Jan, to celebrate her life, to observe the rituals she would have wanted observed.
Afterwards, I felt exhausted. These experiences will do that to you. But I was so glad I went and honestly, there was never one doubt in my mind that I would. I not only wore my old "Girls of the Garden Club" dress, I also wore the silver charm with a "J" inscribed on it that Kathleen bought a tight-knit group of ladies as a sign of support for Jan after she and Jack ran away together.
And no, the "J" did not stand for either Jan or Jack but for Jezebel, which Jan had been accused of being when things were still in turmoil and the waters of society had been roiled.
Which did not last long.
But I saw a few more silver J pendants today and they made me smile.
I smiled a lot today and cried a little too. And it's Saturday evening and next Saturday, we will be in Cozumel and I wonder what we'll be doing then. It will be Christmas Eve. Nochebuena. Mr. Moon is working on the porch across the table from me on car things and the church next door is rocking. Quite a different sort of service from the one I attended today. There is a chicken in the oven with lemon and onions and pepper and garlic and turnips and carrots. I am thinking that Christmas Eve will feel like a million miles and a thousand years from now.
I am almost finished with Gibson's blanket and Mr. Moon has finished up the beautiful bear claw necklace he has made for Owen. Our babies will know that we love them, even if we are not here. I don't think that this will ever be in doubt.
So much in my heart and in my mind. A day that started with hot cocoa and waffles and is ending with all of this.
The train is coming, I hear the whistle. Today as it came by Gibson ran to me from the back yard and I, having heard it coming, met him halfway. He flung himself into my arms and I held him and reassured him and kissed him and patted him. I wondered, once again, if he is really afraid of the train or if this is just a good reason to fling himself into my arms.
Whatever. Once again, I am reminded that love is what it's all about from the bottom to the top, from the inside to the out. And honestly, that is all that matters and that is all that the prayers and the hymns and the sermons are trying to say.
At least, that's what I think.