so i thought about your funeral today

by

I said that to my friend the other night. Her face = priceless.

How often do you think of your friends and family dying? Dead. Kaput. Deceased. Pushing up daises. The people around you won’t be around you forever. They may not be around tomorrow. That trip to the grocery store your husband’s making tomorrow? …better tell him you love him, because he’s not gonna see that black SUV before it T-bones him in the intersection.

Uncomfortable yet? Good.

So anyways, I was thinking about my friend’s funeral, like I said, and I decided I was going to get up and give a speech at said funeral. In my speech I decided I was going to characterize her with some of my favorite quotes of hers, some of the things she says that I just find so “endearing.” I started laughing aloud when they came to mind. That, in and of itself, made me appreciate her so much more than I would have otherwise.

i walked into the church…

And I was alone.

I told my family I didn’t want to walk in with them. I wanted – needed – to be by myself. I see our friends out of my periphery but I do not acknowledge them. I can’t acknowledge them.

Not everybody’s seated yet. People are still trickling into the church, the older folks crossing themselves with holy water, but the casket’s up on the altar. I know that’s not normal for it to be up there yet, but for some reason the pallbearers are already seated. I had requested not to be a pallbearer.

As if in a dream I walk slowly up to the altar, seeing her smiling picture in a big frame resting upon a black tri-pod next to dozens upon dozens of flowers in every hue imaginable. I take the first step up the steps to the casket, my fingertips tingling. I take the second step up, breaking every imaginable funeral protocol. But nobody’s stopping me. In fact, all eyes are on me. The church has gone silent, although this is a peripheral thought.

I reach the coffin and put my hand out to feel the brown pine on my fingertips, no longer tingling, but experiencing the sensations the smooth wood is proffering. I slowly lower my palm to the wood and really feel the encasement in which my friend is interred. I drop my eyes and shake my head as a deep, throaty laugh begins to arise. “You bitch,” I say, and I laugh that much harder, trying to keep it relatively quiet for the sake of the congregation, but I know the front rows can hear me. I hear the recognizable laughter of a couple of our mutual friends, and I realize that I called her a bitch a little louder than I should have.

The tears that I didn’t realize were flowing have now started to drip off my chin and onto the maroon carpeting of the altar, but these tears are not comprised solely of sadness . . . as I know this woman was an amazing woman, making so many lives that much better for her existence. And I am happy.

my freedom

I will literally imagine things like this at times – granted, this example is a little extreme and I don’t think I’ve ever envisioned a funeral to quite a level of detail, but for some reason my mind took me there the other day. It helps me to realize how much I care for the people around me.

We as human beings take each other for granted way too often. We use and abuse and consider it refuse and move on – it’s part of our inherent selfishness. We may not realize we’re doing this, but we are – granted, not with everybody and not all the time, but with enough people to make that broad, overarching statement feasible.

In the movie Fight Club, Tyler Durden says you have to lose everything before you’re free to do anything.

Accepting my death and the inevitability of others’ is my freedom. What’s yours?

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2 Responses to “so i thought about your funeral today”

  1. Bri Says:

    Jeffy – Although I love the overall theme of this post, if I was this particular friend I would have a fear of your sixth sense 😉

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