Friday, September 24, 2010

All the time we've got is all the time we've got...

I attended a funeral yesterday. I wrote the following as I waited for the ceremony to begin.

Smiling faces. At a funeral. Someone took her last breath a week ago and people are smiling. Heads are turning. Seeing who's in attendance, checking out clothing and hair. Sizing each other up. A reunion of sorts for some. Wooden chairs in a rundown high school auditorium. Voices from the intercom make announcements for the living. It's not somber enough. Quiet enough. Respectful enough. I want to cry. She wasn't my best friend. She wasn't a friend at all. A mere associate, turned acquaintance, turned stranger. Haven't even seen her in 5 or 6 years. Can't say my eyes burned with tears when I heard about it. Feeling was one more of shock. Speculated about attending. Wanted to give those closest to her privacy. But here I sit in a hard wooden chair next to a three year singing "Happy Birthday" to himself with the buzzy murmuring of 50 conversations about season finale's, the songs on the radio and some woman who braids hair. No mourning. No tears. Just jaws chewing gum. Giggling and murmuring. I want to cry for her. I feel a rush of emotion surging through me. I feel the familiar sensation of warmth blurring my vision as I write. I want to stand up and shush everyone. Someone chuckles about another's absence. "She told me she was coming," says one. "She lie," the other responds. More chuckling. More mundane talk from the living. No brevity allowed. Just gum smacking and silly talk. It's hitting me. I wondering how closely this gathering mirrors my eventual funeral. I'm sick. Just cremate me.

Nothing like a funeral to make you ponder death and all it's implications. They brought the body in about 30 minutes after my arrival. The entire tone changed as we rose watched the pall bearers carry her in encased in a shiny white casket with a colorful bouquet securely fixed on top. I was glad.

I pictured her face, usually smiling, now flat and humorless, laying in the dark box and came close to tears again. Her family immediately after. I pictured myself at the funeral of my best friend/husband and the room blurred. I saw myself crying in the front row, fainting, vomiting in despair in shock.

There was singing, tears and even laughter are people gave remarks on how she touched their lives. It still didn't seem real to me and still doesn't seem real to me. I sat there wondering at times why I couldn't cry specifically about her death. She was a nice girl. A good girl. A beautiful girl. A young girl. Perhaps it's because I feel it's possible that she's with Christ. Perhaps it's because I didn't think I had the right to cry for her--like only those who loved her best should weep. I have no idea. I can be a leaky bucket of tears. Then it dawned on me that I hardly cry when one should cry. I didn't cry when my great grandmother's brother died, or when my grandmother's sister died, or when an older cousin died. But I've cried reading stories of abused children, or at the sight of stray dogs and even this morning when my husband informed me that he'd be away until about 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. today. I find it strange. I guess I could analyze it, but frankly it's too early to be that introspective.

Work prevented me from staying to hear the eulogy, but I'm glad I attended. It's the first funeral I ever attended alone and maybe only the fifth I've ever attended in my life. I'm glad I was reminded of her life and her energy. "All the time you've got, is all the time you've got...and in time, all your time will stop."

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