Death is a funny thing. You live and then you die. Death is final. I knew this as a kid. Something is in your life and then it is gone. End of story. Was there emotion attached to Death? Perhaps, perhaps not. Perhaps it was because there was no attachment to the life that died, I do not know. Funny, as I was writing this, considering my apparent lack of memory, I started thinking about Death in my life, and a bunch of actual memories came to mind, all at once. Interesting. Suffice it to say some people died and I remember some of those moments in time but not all of them. At one point, Death became personal and with it came a sense of sadness because I lost something that I was attached to. I dealt with that overwhelming sadness rather perfunctorily and moved on. After that, Death became simply Death again, but with it came the understanding of empathy, wherein I felt a deeper sadness for someone else's loss, not for a loss of my own. In the last few weeks, I knew Death was coming once again... I just didn't know when. When I got the call from her daughter, it hit me a little harder for some reason. It bugged the hell out of me that I hadn't gone to see her in the hospital before she died. She wasn't someone that I had known all my life or with whom I was close to, but had come to think of as a mom-like mentor figure. Visits and chats at her Antiques shop in the past several years became part of my life. When I lost my long-standing job and was in the process of making a huge decision of starting my own business, her words were simply "Just do it." I realize now that another reason her Death hits a bit harder is because she was such an "alive" person and personality.
I found out on Thursday that the service was today. I knew I was going. I was running late. I was hot. I was walking briskly, getting hotter with each step. What came to mind was the 70 year old spunky gray haired little ball of fire in her jeans and running shoes, walking everywhere. I climbed the steps into the church hall and made it to the top just as the service was starting. I already knew that I wouldn't be sitting, so I found my niche just outside the doorway. I remember the last time I was at this church was for her husband's funeral two years ago. I remember when I climbed the steps that time, she was at the top and I handed her a Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar because I knew it was one she liked and that she probably hadn't eaten much of anything that day. Today, as last time, the service was casual, which is probably what she had asked for. She was a regular church-going lady, so the service was also full of personal touches. From it, I learned that we had a lot more in common than I knew of. Speaking of things in common, I remember one of our conversations about kids a few years back. She had kids and grandkids and a great-granddaughter who she talked about, but she had mentioned that she didn't really like having kids "around"... I knew what she meant. Funny thing today... a woman had come into the church about a half hour after me, a young girl of two or three with her. That little girl walked around talking to herself and eventually ended up crawling around my feet, under the table and around again, at will. I smiled to myself because it reminded me of that conversation.
She had married at 18 and the two of them were together for over fifty years, separated only by her husband's Death. I like to think that they are with each other again.
She had asked for one parrticular song to be played three times at her service. For some reason, I am certain that they only played it twice. Anyways, I had heard the song before , but did not know until today who wrote and sang it originally , nor did I know that there were so many versions out there. I think this one is my favourite.