Monday, March 10, 2008

Three Word Love Song

I went to a wedding and a funeral this weekend and saw first how I’ve done a shitty job at keeping in touch with loved ones.

The wedding was for an old friend. I am old enough to have old friends now. People that knew you two versions ago. People you don’t have to lie to or impress because they have seen you long before the bullshit and for some reason they still like you. That was really sweet for me, and I just kept being baffled at what keeps people apart.

The funeral was for an Uncle. Cousins I haven’t seen forever, suddenly have long hair or no hair or kids with long hair. Some young 15 year old with tremendous lank, looked past me, but I knew who he was because of the plaid tie he was wearing and the geek-neck of his father. How could this boy have grown to my height? I think I saw him last as a toddler.

The church was several hundred years old and has it’s yard filled with Ancient stones of the dead before us. If you don’t have a bag-piper in the family you should consider getting one. My brother stood in the yard after the service and played 4 or 5 songs under the tree the ashes are to be scattered. Aunts and Uncles stood in the cold at a respectful distance and listened.

In the hall next door there were sandwiches and tears. Stories and laughs. The kids chased each other and we balanced empty plates and paper coffee cups.

There were photos of the cousins when we were kids, there were pictures from the war, pictures of some young Navy Cook. We hear about his death and how fast it was. Yes, Yes, that’s how he wanted to go. It was for the better. His last words to my Aunt tell me the whole story, start to finish.

Hold Me, Jean


Chris said...

You've had too many funerals lately.

I was at my own uncle's funeral not too long ago when my cousin started talking about how well her son was doing in football. "The coach is really happy with him," she said. "He's developing well."

"Boy, they sure do start them young, don't they?" I said, harkening back to my fourth-grade football exploits. "How old is he now, eight? Nine?"

"No," my cousin answered. "He's the starting quarterback on the varsity team. He's seventeen."

Leonesse said...

You people are old.

Sorry for your loss, old man.

Chris said...

The last words are haunting me a bit. What an enormous testament to your aunt! It really is beautiful.

Wendy said...

Beautiful post.

I'm sorry for your loss.

I think about the time that goes by for extended families and how sad it makes me that can't make it better. I long for the old days when families all lived on the same block.

Well, all except one cousin.