Service, Support

What I walked in blindly to was service planning and a sort of support group. How long did the gathering go? I wasn’t really aware of time. I don’t think it was very long, but I remember my mother was anxious to leave once all the details had been vaguely recorded.

During the course of the evening, the sealed-in fate of the 70’s forbidden magazine story re-surfaced.

Learning I wasn’t the only one Jeff’d told that story to, brought on another not-quite-so-strangled smile. The fact that he told me and his best friend created a kindred connection for me. Amusing, but odd, and oddly comforting, as well.

Jeff must have thought it was important enough to make sure that more than one someone would know. What I can’t figure is why he felt that tidbit would have been so important.

I get goosebumps thinking about the fore-telling quality of that particular narrative. The unbelievable comedic timing heralded divine intervention, yet, dragged suspicion behind it.

Did he know something I didn’t? Maybe, he didn’t consciously know anything, but his subconscious was like, “Hey! Tell that story. It’ll for sure live on. They’ll laugh about it after you’re gone.” Is that too much to believe?

The service hymns were and weren’t easy. There was the pressure of appropriate funeral hymns, but I outspokenly chose the ones Jeff was most enthusiastic about. The ones he always enjoyed singing were the ones I imagined he’d want to hear if he was there. The ones he knew the longest, felt the deepest, exalted his simplified belief, sweetly tinged with childlike acceptance.

I had no preference for passages. Jeff’s father did and I was glad for that.

I wrote my portion of the eulogy that night. The Reverends thought I might have something to say, or want to say something. I was assured if the time came and I could not speak or if I just didn’t want to say it myself, they would read my thoughts aloud for me.

I don’t know how I came up with the words. It’s not at all unusual for me to return to musings past, just to be astonished at my own thoughts. This time, I obviously imagined something, but I’m still a little confused about who I thought I was going to be speaking to.

Quote for the Week:

The Ripple Began Then

 

Over the years, in my tragicomedy approach to healing, I sometimes emphasized the on-the-verge-of-inappropriate, near-comedic aspect of that moment.

Other times, I’ve grumbled outwardly about the monkey-wrench that almost reset the officer’s overdose suspicion back to square one.

I think back on it now in wonder.

To pass by two ambulances, two police cars, a parade of neighbors outside and in and still have the hopeful faith that what I said wasn’t what I meant, is perhaps a gift from God. One that got her from one point to another safely, and positioned her to tell the story in a way that I could not.

I don’t know how long I sat there on the couch, on the section closest to the front door.

But, that’s where I was at the moment it became real.

The moment when the heartbreak became a ripple and the ripple was absorbed.

I don’t know how they got there. It seemed they just appeared, each hovering one step inside the door. A three-man row of grief and disbelief. I recognized the vacancy.

These were the first three people to share my grief; the first intimate ones I had faced.

The ones I knew were at least where I was, and were perhaps even deeper.

The ones who’d had him way longer than I; the catalysts of tears.

I had no words. Even if I had, speaking and crying is a complicated gift I have always lacked. Unconquerable, it’s either one or the other. Right then, it was the flow and terror.

In many ways the police and the emergency personnel were impartial. They were interested in facts.

Facts were an eerily calm surface; I dreaded the questions barely beneath. At some point, they would rise, buoyed by ripples, pushed upward as expelling gulps of grief. How could I explain why I wasn’t where I was supposed to be; where I usually was; where, for just this one time I wasn’t.

Quote for the Week: 2019 12 17 there isn’t anyway to avoid grief guilt jakorte