Friday, May 14, 2010
FUNNY THING ABOUT FUNERALS
Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I have been blessed with some wonderful women in my life.
One of them was my grandmother. So I was very sad to attend her funeral yesterday, although there is some comfort in the fact that she lived 92 wonderful years and died peacefully in her sleep.
The funny thing about funerals is how you can feel devastated one minute, and joyous the next. This funeral gave our family an excuse to gather: for the first time in at least a dozen years, all five of us kids were in one place WITH both parents also in attendance.
And it was great to catch up with everyone and share stories and memories. Even though all of us hated the fact that Granddaddy was in the hospital and unable to attend his wife's funeral. They were married 69 years!! Can you imagine? Please keep him in your thoughts as he has surgery today to repair a fractured hip and wrist.
I learned more about love from those two than just about anyone. And while my own parents' relationship was a bit chaotic, there was always Grandma and Granddaddy, loving each other in the house they built with their own hands in the small, coastal town of Port St. Joe, Florida.
Grandma was probably my biggest fan. And she was responsible for putting many a book in my hands -- she also took me many times to the Port St. Joe Library. And she read with great enthusiasm and joy pretty much everything I wrote.
Yesterday at the funeral, I read a poem I wrote. And afterwards, a woman came up to me and said, "You looked just like your grandmother when you stood up to read that poem. She was so proud of you."
I hugged her and thanked her for that comment. She is with me now, and always will be.
And now I'd like to share the poem I read. It's fresh, far from complete, but for those of you who have lost someone they love, I offer it to you and hope it brings some comfort.
To the Mourners
Remember: the heart cannot
comprehend endings. You must
walk the path to the ocean,
lift a smooth stone and bend
to examine the shape
left in sand, watch it fill
with water. It isn’t a question
of faith. Things will change.
Walk along the dunes, find
an open caterpillar casing,
a just-born butterfly
fluttering its wings
in this overwhelming world
of light. Then, a spider’s web –
sticky, empty threads a miracle
not to the spider, or the fly,
but to those who grieve.
Every end is a beginning.
A you gather seashells
and sea glass, listen for
that grace-filled moment
after the last bird call
but before the crickets.
Be patient with yourself.
As the sun dips below the waves,
the sky billowing pink and gold
and purple -- rejoice
in what was
and the simple beauty
of what comes after.
- Irene Latham
For other poems, round up is at Alphabet Soup.