I suspect I’m morose because I’ll be attending a memorial service today for Bob, someone I’d long regarded as a friend for life without realizing the personal consequences of what is always an intellectual abstraction, death.
I have attended memorials and funerals. A previous friend (I don’t make ‘em or keep ‘em very well so my memories are very vivid) died in my arms too many summers ago and I wound up accepting another job some 90 minutes away as the BMW flies (drives) rather than walk through the same hallways in our building as he and I had done for years.
There will be a lot of people at today’s memorial. Each of us a spoke on a wheel that at the very center of the mandala, and the sole common point of reference for each, will be our shared though separate and distinct relationships with Bob.
His family, aching beyond any hope, will endure us and our efforts at solace because that’s what the family does at these moments. We try to make them feel better in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. It never happens and we know that even before we drive along the quiet two lane state road that leads us to the service. But we will try, because we know not what else to do.
There are no words I can offer them to heal the hurt at least that’s what I’m telling myself at this moment because I have no idea what those words might be or who could possibly say them. Our Earth became a bit more silent and cold last Friday with his passing-a little less kind, a little less understanding but another bit more brusque, caustic and calculating. There’s no going back now
We’ll have a moment at the service to face the enormity of the chasm Bob’s death has created in our lives, from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs, and to choose if the memory of the man we’ll hold in our hearts will be a souvenir of who we were or a map of who we are to be until our own time for coming and going has arrived.