Friday, August 14, 2009

Three Funerals and a Wedding

Last week we were running on emotions. Each day found us either at a funeral, paying a condolence call, or at a wedding. On top of that were very frustrating problems with a neighbor that led to legal intervention, so needless to say, it felt like the week would never come to an end.

Thank goodness the wedding was on Thursday night, so we had it to look forward to all week. And, on Tuesday, our son was in for a few hours, which made for a very special and much needed treat.

One of the funerals was of yet another person our age. He was someone we knew when we were teenagers, and when we opened our email in the evening to find the announcement of his death, and that his funeral was being held in half an hour, we wondered for a moment if we should attend, and then quickly got ready to go.

I think most of us expect that at some point in our lives, our friends are going to start dying. We just never thought that it would start happening while we were only in our 50s. When Sarah passed away earlier this year, we were very shaken, and filled with the surety
that her untimely death was an anomaly. We spoke of learning to live life to its fullest, but I don't think it ever crossed our minds that Sarah's death marked the entrance of a new stage in our lives.

Aaron's death last week struck a different chord. As we were driving to the funeral, we started comparing ourselves to elderly people we've known who seemed to accept the death of a friend as an unavoidable eventuality that is mourned with a few tears, a shake of the head, and then a continuation of life.

Do you do that when the dead were still in the prime of life? Can you?

As I write this a week later, I understand that the answer is that yes, we do move on fairly quickly after the death of a friend. Their passing floods us with fond memories and strong emotions, but perhaps the difference is that at our age a friend's death also bears a very sharp touch of reality, and a determination to not let life slip by.

To Sarah and Aaron, may you rest in peace, and with dreams and hopes that all your friends enjoy life with you in mind, and that many more years pass before we find ourselves gathering at the funeral of another friend.

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