Saturday, September 09, 2006


I woke up this morning with a headache. At about a quarter to 7 I broke from my sleep as L gave me a kiss on my cheek. He was off to work. I rolled over and slept until 8. Today was the day of the memorial service for a friend's husband, who passed away a month ago. I think my headache was a reminder of what this kind of situation reminds me of. I usually avoid situations like this. I had a cup of coffee and went, and as I walked through to where people were and heard the sound of a trio about the age of Peter, Paul and Mary playing, I broke down. A co-worker gave me a hug and I sat and waited for the service to begin. Irene, my friend, spoke of her husband and many others spoke. I wept openly, feeling exhausted but very proud of her grace.

I threw out the dress I wore to my husband's funeral, and gave the shoes and the bag away. After his service, when we all stood in the church courtyard as the pall bearers loaded the coffin into the hearse, my friend Shannon found me and I was relieved to have her (and my mother) with me. I felt so alien there, at the church I had attended memorial masses for Tim's niece many, many times. She had been too young when she died, still a baby in many ways. At today's funeral, the elderly mother of John, the deceased, thanked us all for coming. She had lost her oldest child, when nature usually dictates that parents will die before their children.

Each death is felt so differently. To lose a child, or a husband, by accident or by illness or simply old age is felt uniquely. I can't help but think, though, that each loss is partnered with love. Even in estrangement I felt the most painful love. I often thought that I broke his heart. It was evident in his suicide note that I had. I stand by that as I come to accept that some things can be fought for until the bitter end, or can be appreciated as a loss, mourned for, and you move on.

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