Saturday, February 1, 2014
All I Can Say Right Now
So what do you say the night after your husband’s funeral? What do you write about? What a beautiful service it was, and how many people it took to make it happen – incredible. How I thought I had presence of mind at the service, but afterward I realized I went through the whole thing in a daze. How I was hugged by more people in one day than I ever have been in my life. How proud I am of our sons, JD and Drew, and my granddaughter Allysan, and the parts they played in that beautiful service. It was tough for them. It was tough for all of us. How wonderful it was to hear my friends sing, “I’ll Fly Away,” one of the first songs I sang with Rick over 40 years ago. How outrageously good the sailor who played “Taps” was. Instead of falling to pieces as I’d expected to at that moment, I stood there completely transported by the beauty and art of how he played. How I drove by the church for the first time tonight and said, “Hi, Rick!” and realized I could do that every time I drive by. How very strange it is to think that he has been gone for two weeks. I don’t believe it’s real yet. I didn’t believe it as I watched the dirt going into the hole where his ashes were placed, and said so to my god-daughter, Maggie, who was standing at my side holding me tightly. How great it is to remember Rick stories, such as the time a piece of my cutting board broke off, and when I told him what had happened, he said, straight-faced, “The piece of the board be with you.” Liturgy joke. The time I asked him, “Do you have cotton balls?” and he replied, “Do I look like a teddy bear?” He said his father pulled that one on him when he was young and he’d been waiting 30 years for someone to give him the straight line. How a friend gave one of my sons a little urn to contain some of his father’s ashes, and when he opened it, he found it already had some ashes inside. Oops. Returned the ashes to their proper custodian this evening. How long ago I heard a superstition that whenever you find a penny, someone who has died is saying hello to you. This was a great comfort every time I found a penny after my mother died years ago. You can believe it or not. Here comes the “too much information” part: After Rick’s service last night, at 2 a.m., I got out of bed to go to the bathroom. As I sat down, I felt something slip down my back and heard it plink into the toilet. I stood up, and there was a penny lying in the water. I had to laugh – I can’t prove anything, and I’m sure there is some real world explanation for how a penny got stuck to my back and then fell off at that moment, but that greeting in that way at that moment definitely fits in with Rick’s earthy sense of humor, and it definitely cheered me up, and I’m sure that all the things we don’t see work through the things we do see to speak to us. How much I and the rest of my family appreciate the kindness, and love, and generosity, and care that have been shown to us by so many people. Early on it occurred to me that what really counted was people showing up, and dozens, hundreds of people have been showing up the last two weeks, and it has made all the difference. How I wish I could sleep through a night. Oh well. Maybe someday. Thank you to all of you. And blessings, and love, and hugs. You rock.