We all have it, that ensemble that comes out to wear to a funeral home. One of many outfits that are appropriate for such an occasion. I’d personally like to wear day-glo, combat boots and 100 black rubber bracelts, my uniform from all of those years ago. But we are grown ups now, that wouldn’t be right….ok, then I want to stay home and dig through pictures, yearbooks and memories. Today I do not want to go to the funeral home. Because this time, this day, tells me I am old. This is the day it sinks in.
I look in the mirror before heading out the door. Its not the greying hair, nor the wrinkles, that mark my arrival at this chapter. It is this, the death of old friends and lovers.
It’s not something you think about really, who would leave this place first. Why would you? When you’ve known someone for more than half of your life, they will just always be there. So what? You miss a get together, you’ll see them at the next one. You responded to that last message with a one word answer because you were busy. But now, there are no more get togethers, no more messages. Gone.
Flash forward. The evening passes in remembrances, each of us sharing stories, jokes, and the like. We are people who have shared a level of love or friendship, and that bond, in our case, spans over three decades. We grieve for what their children must feel, their partner, their parents.
We put out our hands to strangers, say our names and tell of how we knew him. We offer words of condolence that seem trivial in the moment. We nod, smile, nod again and become ourselves. All the while faced with our own mortality. This was one of us, our group, our circle.
This a skill I don’t want to master, this funeral thing, this weeping, this laughing, this hugging thing. We will vow to get together soon. We mutter that hopefully it won’t be under these circumstances. But, among us, the old ones here, friends and colleagues, we know it is only a matter of time.
We try not to wonder who will be next, when we will next meet. We try not to look at each other with these thoughts.
It would seem we have arrived.
I know that we will all meet again. I truly believe that in life our souls recognize and gravitate to each other throughout time. The people who we know now, we’ve always known, in many lifetimes, in one form or another. With all of my heart, I hope this to be true.