Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Funeral for a Friend

Pay close attention to the title, it is not funeral of a friend, but rather funeral for a friend. I found myself in the sad position to attend a funeral for a friend today. That friend's mother had died, and as her offspring's friend I fulfilled my duty by attending the funeral. Not that I deserve any special kudos for that, it is what friends are supposed to do, funerals, wedding, baby showers, and all the other duties that adulthood imposes upon us. Gone are the days of 21st birthday parties and wild bachelor parties. Sometimes being an adult sucks, but sometimes you just have to  realize that life sucks a lot more often than it should.

I had already had a fairly rotten two days when I arrived at this funeral, and yet as I sat there listening to the pastor say his words that were designed to comfort us all, but which I found a perverse dislike for, I realized that, more likely than not, I am at least going to have the chance to have a crappy day again tomorrow. It already is shaping up to be that way, and I am not looking forward to it, but it is still going to arrive for me in about 10 hours. Something that the recently deceased will not have the luxury of having. I, being a non-believer, think that this mortal coil is all we have, and once we shuffle off of it, we cease to exist either as a body or a 'spirit'. Granted, this is not a widely held view, nor it is a particularly happy view, but it is a view that I have put considerable, and considered thought, and effort into fashioning. 

Still, as I kept my voice silent, not voicing any objections I may have with the views being expressed before me, I began to wonder if maybe those words were going to comfort some of the assembled gathering, and isn't that enough? Whatever wound those words provide a balm for, is one less open wound in the world, and in a world full of open wounds that has to be a good thing.  The disbelief of some damn fool like me non-withstanding should not be an obstacle to these good people feeling that their loved one is now in a better place.  The sad part is that, for the briefest of seconds, and perhaps it was due to my own emotional turmoil, that those words, and the promise that they held almost had me on board. For a millisecond or so, I almost came back to the fold that I so willfully left over two decades ago.  A bridge, in many ways the first bridge, that I burned solidly to the ground looked almost worth rebuilding.

Then, the absurdity of the situation struck me, who the fuck converts at a funeral? It was both absurd, and extremely selfish (to which both charges I enter a full, and spontaneous confession), after all I was here to support my friend in her time of grief, not to ponder the return to the flock. That is what I would like to say is the only reason that I am not walking across that rebuilt bridge, but I am not that pure, never have been, never will be. Part of my issue was the rest of the herd.  A look to both my right and my left, gave me a pause, a long pause, a deep seated paused that I have not recovered from since.  There are reasons for both of those directions giving me pause, and none of those reasons need overly concern us here. Even if I could write it without unleashing a firestorm upon my head, and I can't, this is not the space to do it.

No, this is the space about a funeral for a friend, a friend of only about 6 years of my life, but 6 years of my friendship is probably a bit like a prison sentence. I am not, nor shall I ever be, some one who makes friends easily. However, once made it is difficult to get shed of me as a friend. I also figure that it is a difficult thing being my friend, but this person has never complained about it even once. She is always happy, and positive, and not in a 'just took a pill' way. I think she is just a very well grounded happy person. A type that I wasn't sure existed, and certainly would not think would be able to stand me (or me them) as a friend, but nevertheless here we are friends until (and I hope this is a long, long time from now) one of us will be attending the funeral of a friend.

For Patience, who has lived up to her given name more times than I care to think about during the time of our friendship. 


Anonymous said...

Very well written.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your friend's loss.

Many people reflect on life and the idea of an afterlife on funerals. I'm sure some convert or return to the fold.