Monday, September 27, 2010

The Last Stop

The world is a strange, frightening, exhilarating place. It is a wild rollercoaster, the sole ride in the amusement park of life. There are great wonders, deep sorrows, amazing discoveries, and wrenching consignments, all interlaced with intermittent contentment or indifference.

This week someone I loved but didn't know well passed away. That's the politically-correct phrase: "passed away". Just a few months ago I saw him laughing, talking about the future, speaking of his interests. The day after tomorrow, I will be attending his funeral where I will stand over the still vessel that was his for more than fifty years. It's eerie and romantic at the same time, knowing that a body can never move on its own, but can be filled with such life and intelligence for such a long time. How can one not believe that what made that body move, speak, breath, and feel would live on in another form? And how can one not be confronted with the awesome wonder that is emotion and intellect when facing what follows mortality?

I learned a long time ago that when I shed tears for a lost loved one, that I am moved by the sorrow of those who survive them or by my own selfish need of them. I never really cry for those who've moved on. I don't know where they go. I don't know how they get there or if they keep a piece of this life with them. I only know they're gone, and we are left here without them. I mourn the separation, the finality of the cosmic decision. I can't bring myself to mourn death beyond the rending of bonds and ending of journeys. My heart accepted long ago that this is only one stop on the journey of a spirit, and everything dies.

I will break down, as I always do in the face of my dearest family's tears. I will weep, hold them near, think about the man that left so many loving souls behind, and try to be strong. I will fail... for a day. But when I come home, my eyes will be dry and I will still know in my heart that he lives on. Not only in the memories and hearts of those he's touched, not only in the legacies he's left behind, but in a mysterious and undeniable continuation of his spirit into the next phase of his journey.

I don't know if I am callous, or enlightened. But I do know that I loved him, will miss him, and will lament with my family, sharing in their pain.



Kimber Grey said...

A quick comment about the service. This was the first I attended where the deceased was not on display, and it was the best service I have ever been to. It was sad and hard, as it likely should be, the prick to know we're still alive, but it was beautiful and encouraging as well. Stories were told and people laughed and shared what they loved and remembered about him. Then we ate good food and visited with each other. It was by far the most wonderful way to be remembered.

Anonymous said...

If I followed the lineage correctly on facebook, I believe that we are cousins who have probably never met. I was at the memorial service and I thought that it was beautiful as well. Those who spoke were quite eloquent, as are your entries on this blog.
Janice Jeffrey
(If you look me up on FB, I'm wearing red in my profile pic standing to the right of a guy wearing blue.)

Kimber Grey said...

Thank you for your kind words, Janice. My family on FB is accurate, so you are probably right about the relation. My mother is Carol, Monnie's sister. At the service I stuck close to my mother and also Ilene to offer support, but did not socialize much more than that, so I likely did not talk to you unless someone introduced us. Message me on FB to exchange e-mails. :)

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