We went to a funeral today. My brother's father-in-law died last Saturday and although Mr. Moon and I were not close to him, he had made a huge difference in the lives of my brother and his family. He loved them dearly and took them on wonderful vacations. A month ago, in fact, they all went to North Carolina together and a good time was had by all. He was my niece's and nephew's only grandparent after my mother died and they adored "Papa."
And so of course we had to go. Family. The service was held in a funeral home and was short and sweet. His daughters and a few of his siblings spoke as well as his best friend. It was decidedly non-religious. The holy name of the father was only mentioned once, heaven a few times, hell not at all. Mostly the stories were about funny things he'd done, how caring he'd been as a father, a brother, a husband.
It was good to see my brother and his wife and Kian and Riley, so almost-grown now. We saw them at Easter but I swear they've grown since then. Kian is driving now, Riley is about to get her license. I think they were all glad we showed up. We were glad we went.
I think of how we never pulled a funeral together for my mother. Part of me is ashamed of that. Part of me is not. I know that her church friends might have wished that we had. Her minister called me at least three times before he finally gave up, inquiring as to what sort of service we might want. We're not a religious family in any sense. One of my brothers lives in the Pacific Northwest and he wasn't going to come, believing rightly that seeing Mother while she was alive was far more important than attending a funeral. And my other two brothers and I were going through confusing times due to several issues and...well, it just didn't happen.
Ironically, the last time I saw Tom, my brother's father-in-law was right after Mother died. Chuck and his wife and their kids and Tom came over and we ate some ham and hung out, mostly on the porch. And that was that.
I wonder what will happen when I die. Humans can't help but contemplate that situation for themselves. I don't mean where will I go when I die? What sort of form my soul will take? Not that. No one knows and if anyone tells you that they do, don't believe them. I'm thinking eternally gone. Done. And as much as I love to sleep, that's fine with me.
No. I'm talking about what my kids and husband will do. (I better go before him.) I really don't care. I mean, I'll be dead. We joke about it sometimes.
"Play Thunder Road."
I think that's the main directive I've given. That's not much to go on, is it?
I imagine that there will be drinking involved. As there should be. Dancing, I hope.
I remember after my beloved friend Lynn died and how, at the end of a long day of celebrating her life, Shayla and I danced in my hallway to Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Iz Kamakawiwo'Ole. I had danced in so many hallways and kitchens with Lynn and that dance felt sacred. Lynn would have loved that more than anything. Sometimes it is best, I think, to let these things arise organically rather than to plan a sterile service with no room for improvisational hallway dancing.
Well, I really did not mean to discuss after-death plans. I rarely have any idea what I'm going to write about when I sit down.
Talk about arising organically...
But the topic of my death doesn't depress me. I've lived. I'll die. Whatever happens after will be what it is. Now the thought of other people's deaths is another thing entirely. That I can't even discuss.
It's pouring rain and the sun is shining. There is no doubt a rainbow involved somewhere. It smells of the funk of wet dirt and the sharpness of ozone. The best perfume in the world. All over the world and right in my family there are people mourning the loss of loved ones. Every one of us has lost someone. Some of those losses are almost unbearable. Some of them are more confusing than painful. There are no rules about these things. Not about death or how we should feel about it or what we should do afterwards.
But I do like to think of the people I've loved who have died and how much they would have loved this or hated that. I miss them and selfishly, I miss the parts of me that went with them because we share different parts of ourselves with different people. We have entrusted those people with these parts of ourselves and they have loved us despite them or because of them. That's what love is, I think. Or some of it.
Ah well. I think I'll go make some curried squash and sweet potato and cashew soup. You know why? Because I can. And I want to. And I'm alive.