Saturday, September 29, 2012

Claiming the Dead

I just got off the phone with Mike.  There was less joy in our quiet Saturday afternoon without him. 

In the afternoon, I went to a memorial service for a friend.  This woman was so well loved that everyone wanted to speak or sing today.  I guess it's nice when you think about it, that all these people wanted to claim Mary as their own.  Her family was a little flummoxed over it. 

I heard Mary's daughter mumble, "She's going to sing? Well, it's not for us, it's for Mary."  And yes, the singer sang anyway, smiling and putting Mary's name into the song as if it were written especially for her.  I wondered how she got the nerve to stand there even though her song wasn't written into the program.  It didn't seem right. 

Our choir sang too, but suddenly our numbers were doubled.  We sounded okay, but the least they could have done was to show up early for the rehearsal as well. 

When a man got up to speak, a woman in the pew with me leaned over and said, "That guy would speak at services even if he didn't know the dead."  It sounded like that too.  This man had little to say except to repeat what others had said or to comment on it.  He didn't seem to know when to stop either, even when he began to hem and haw. 

It was a long service and the minister finally cut people off and told speakers that they could resume their stories with refreshments. 

To be so well loved that people clamor to speak of you after you're gone.  That was Mary. 

The other part I kept trying to get my head around were the pictures of Mary when she was young.  As long as I knew her, she had looked the same.  Her photos showed a lovely vivacious character.  She looked just like her daughters.  Isn't it something when you find yourself getting to know someone better at their own memorial service? 

I didn't get up to speak, but I wanted to.  It's a little sad, but I'd have liked to claim Mary as my own, but I can't.  Not quite.

Thank you for listening, jb

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