I realize haven’t written an entry this blog in a very long time. No excuses, just life and the participation in an extremely long two months, filled with too many distractions/projects/illness. Time and a reoccurring flu became the very personification of an enemy. But even when the clock and toxic phlegm keeps a person from their written thoughts, those thoughts still manage to emerge, just in a less linear, more imperfect fashion. Over these past few months, my brain did a lot of scattered thinking and I experienced a few random moments that seemed much more linear at the time.
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I watched them lower the coffin into its casing before lowering it into the sealed structure into the ground for all eternity. Another funeral. My seventh for the year. I am running out of black clothing. (That is something that this normally dark attired person never thought would transpire.)
I marveled at my shoes in the reflection of the hearse’s hub caps, as I pondered whether or not to take its picture. I didn’t…
I guess this seemed an appropriate ending to this year. It began with a death in the second month and ended with another death in the second to the last month. Little did I know there would be yet another death only a few weeks after this one.
I watched my husband and his brother witness the sealing of the coffin into a larger cement box. The process reminded me of Russian stacking dolls. The deceased’s name was etched on the top of the outer box. I didn’t photograph that either… My not photographing these moments is something I regretted at the time but I now realize they weren’t the moments I was meant to/needed to capture. The air was thick with enough final goodbyes and tension. Theses “photo moments” were merely insignificant interruptions no one should dwell on. Someone whispered over my shoulder about the sadness of “said and done” and “being left with nothing but a casket.”
The “box” was transported by a small crane driven by one of the grave diggers, lifted far too high and descended far too quickly into it’s final resting place. I had never seen anything like this set up and delivery. The cement encasing was carried along by nothing but two ropes looped around the left and right sides of the lid. The ropes were taught but could be removed easily. I asked my husband how on earth did he think that casket was being suspended without a hook, wire, or other apparatus securely affixed to it.
What’s holding it up?
I exhaled as he walked over to someone. That word hung there. There couldn’t have been more perfect utterance of syllables in that moment though neither one of us realized it’s significance but later discussed on the car ride home.
…I lost track of time and got bogged down in the process. In my quest for simplicity, the simple became complex… Missed opportunities. Missed moments…
After eight funerals and eight funeral home visits and eight reflections and eight observances, I realized the words that were being uttered there were the same words I was uttering to myself.
If we’re lucky, we choose to build our lives on ourselves first, and then on something or someone substantial. Relationships are led by our choices and finding joy within the company you keep. But sometimes we thrive on tensions, and those tensions are the only thing holding our everything together. We can not remove the tension without removing the supportive ropes. And the ropes are our only connective tissue. Observing things now, I have seen tension in place of too much for far too long for far too many, all bubbling underneath the surface.
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I watched the planes take off at the tiny restaurant beside the tiny airport. We dined in the Frank Sinatra room. There were pictures of Ol’ Blue Eyes everywhere. I couldn’t imagine Sinatra hanging out in Latrobe. But there he was, looking right at me in glossy black and white. We were the only ones dining that afternoon. The sky was beautiful. I was moving from window to window trying to see as much as I could. I had arrived at a restless sense of peace for a moment for the first time in a long year.
I watched my niece make faces in the kitschy wall-sized mirrors. I knew this transition year was coming to a close, and the Pandora’s box of revelations that have simultaneously surprised, and empowered, and exhausted me on an almost daily basis were temporarily at bay. The recognition of those I love and those who love me were coming into focus.
The food was delicious and the company calming. We drove home full and ready to nap.
There are so many other thoughts to have, but they all seem distant and stale. So for now, I leave behind some imagery relating to this entry as well as a few random moments of “somethings” from the last two months. Hopefully I am leaving death behind and coming into newfound words and images in the weeks to come.
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OTHER MOMENTS TOO “SOMETHING” TO DEFINE: