Monday, June 18, 2012

Recent Weeks: The Funeral

The funeral was at a golf course of course. I helped set-up the space. I moved tables, chairs, and speakers. I plugged in electronics and tested the sound system.

I walked the grounds, almost pacing as family carted objects to and fro. We worked like an orchestra in some moments and in others we worked like headless chickens. Nothing was frantic, but organization was a fits and starts occasion.

At some point everything happened and the funeral proceeded with precision. Each speaker for Marian captured her exactly as we knew her. She could be hard and difficult sometimes. Somehow we missed even those moments when she was hardest to bear. There is little opportunity to mourn a loss when someone is so viscerally there.

Marian was always there. As background noise or the only noise in a room, she was there and very real. Each speaker drew a portrait of a woman that was loved and sometimes feared for her bluntness and honesty. She was real. And she was always compassionate. Somehow criticisms from her mouth were inarguable truths. Across all of the speakers emerged a person who often had a wider agenda, a consistent character, and a laugh that filled a room.

We said our goodbyes to her under the big white tent next to the golf course.

After, there was food and liquor. I tried to help whoever I could but I had little knowledge of what needed to substantively be done. I found myself getting food for people and just comforting everyone as best I could. Yet I was averse to social interaction and all I could feel was uncomfortable. It bugged me to be stuck in that room waiting hungrily to leave.

So I gathered together the cousins and we went to the driving range. I am a terrible golfer but I find the driving range therapeutic.

And it seemed that the cousins enjoyed it as well. We knocked the balls out as far as we could, hoping to make the task gain purpose. We told ourselves it was in honor of Marian, but I’m not sure. It seemed right. And it made me feel good. When we were done, our bodies were sore, and it was time to leave. So we went to grandma and grandpa’s house.