Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Trailing the Crepe

Well, I’ve got another funeral tomorrow and just to tell you the truth, I’m not happy about it. I never like funerals on the front end. I dread them because of the overcast of sorrow they carry around with them like dark and damp mosquito netting draped all over. I guess it’s the same thing that people feel about reading this blog. In the blog ratings (believe or not there are such things) this one keeps dropping. Who wants to read about death and dying? Who wants to go to funerals?

Actually, we have a chaplain where I work who loves to do them. He’s a strange bird but he’s loved by the hospice staff and his patients because he gets something about funerals that I only admit about half way through them; they are incredibly healing if they’re done right.

My sister jokes about an incident when she was attempting to be the teen sophisticate at a banquet with some very important people at the head table. She went to the lady’s room and upon her return, detoured across in front of the room to be seen. It was only after she was seated next to her date and her best friend that she discovered that she’d trailed a streamer of toilet paper all across her parade route.

I feel like that when I leave the family at the grave side except that the streamer is black crepe and after having facilitated so much grief, it flaps unceremoniously in the tail wind of my car like a coattail hanging out of the driver’s door. I’m glad it’s over they’re glad it’s over and we all hope that the preacher gets out of sight ASAP.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, there’s no resentment in that wish to be rid of me nor is there in my wish to be gone, it’s just that there comes a time when the healing has to be about drying tears not bringing them. The best thing for me to do after saying all the right things is to mount up and ride off into the sunset. It’s sunset on this tragedy that brings the cooling breezes of a more personal night and a restful slumber.

Meanwhile, I need to think about John and what I know about him and how to make poetry out of his dying. Not so that there is an abundance of pretty words but so that people can be free to weep and then to heal. And there it is. Just what Chaplain Fred knows about funerals that makes him so good – it’s all about healing. God, help me remember that.


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