The others whom Jeff left behind supported and needed support. Each at the table had at least two dedicated decades of love; some had the full 42.
I was acutely aware I was the one with the least of his lease on life.
In my mind, then and still, the foundations of long-standing years made their loss more severe. I imagined, then and still, the burden of that type of pain surely surpassed mine.
My heart hurt, then and still, for all who had the fortune of Jeff, longer. I only had him for 8 and I was lost. If I had had him just a moment longer, I would have hurt one more moment worse.
Somehow, some things were already settled. I wasn’t aware of anyone else’s desires, nor did I ask.
My insistence on cremation was the echo of Jeff’s desire. I didn’t want that or not want that. It was what he wanted; therefore, honor worthy.
Surrounded by an invisible buffer, pressurized, cocooned in an observationist air pocket, though not physically isolated, I felt alone. And that was not a reflection of anyone present.
In my seat, I was alone. In my specific type of grief born of my specific role, I was alone. I was just as alone as the other roles represented that morning. None of our grief was the same; couldn’t be, shouldn’t be, would never be.
When we got down to business, the first task was verbally gathering family history and personal information – the sort you need for an obituary.
I was immensely grateful my brother took over proof-reading and corrections. Multiple re-writes and edits later, I felt a bit bad for the funeral planner kid. Which isn’t a derogatory statement. He was young; 20’s-ish.
Whenever asked a decision-required question, Jeff’s father would, in turn, ask it of me. Though deferred to, my choices considered heritage.
Like purposefully choosing the funeral pamphlet featuring a semi-silhouetted blue-hued barn, silo, and field. There couldn’t have been any other choice worth considering.
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