Thursday, April 23, 2020

First...the Other Stuff

Another week has gone by...full of ups and downs.  Who knew that "sheltering in place" or "staying at home" or whatever you want to call it...could still be like riding a roller coaster?

I'm not 'there' yet in terms of sharing "just" the work of my hands.  Instead...I am sharing what it's like to grieve for the death of a long-time friend who died not due to but in the midst of COVID-19.

I managed to get to the visitation for my friend C. on April 18.  It was an odd experience because of the COVID-19 protocols in place.  The space was huge!  When I entered -- after over 2 hours on the road -- a lovely fellow (funeral home employee) greeted me and showed me the powder room.

 From there I went into an ante-room and met up with A., C's eldest (a year younger than my daughter).  Inching towards 40 ( both he and my daughter will just love that I mentioned that but hey -- his mom and I were/are approaching 68 so...??), he's as tall as I remembered, but with a bit more 'rounding' and less hair.  Still, A is a lovely young man -- very gentle, and interesting as well as interested -- and of the 3 of the children, the one who most resembles his dad.  We had a very good talk, and from there I went into the 'viewing room' -- another very large space with chairs placed strategically 2 metres (6 feet or so) apart.  No one was sitting in the chairs.  On the side of the room opposite the door was the casket of my friend, and nearby, a table with photos, most of which I remembered and had seen before.

When I entered, I caught W's eye; he'd been talking with a couple -- masked -- who'd come to pay their respects.  I waited.  They took their leave and I drew nearer -- but not too near.  We talked a bit, and we went toward the photo table, and then I took a look at my friend C...not who I remembered, at all, really...because who she is for me is far more real.  And then...W and I chatted some more. 

Another couple arrived -- and so did G, the 'kid in the middle' for C and W.  She is the same age as my son, and they graduated together...and were in music/choir combos together but not friends per seG is tall and slender, though, like my daughter, and wore for a bit of time a red vest I'd knitted for my daughter that was eventually passed on to her. 

G is to be married at the end of August.  It was to be earlier -- May, I think -- but COVID-19 has put paid to that plan.  Her mother -- yes -- had told me so in an e-mail just a week or so before she died.  G is a lovely young woman: a musician, piano teacher, life guard -- and is currently staying with her dad and teaching over Face Time -- sensing very strongly her mother's presence, which is good, but...she is nonetheless very tightly wound, and so I keep her in my prayers.

I moved out into the foyer to sign the guest book and pick up a small pamphlet of remembrance.  Returning to the viewing room, I prepared to take my leave.  I approached W., who bid good-bye to another couple who'd been talking to him, and came to me, arms outstretched.  I hugged him and held him close, whispering, "Oh, to HELL with convention!!"  Both of us needed the solace of that hug at that moment.  I have no regrets.

As I left again to leave, I encountered Gr., the youngest of the family, and his girlfriend.  Another musician and a sort of  'Renaissance' young man, I'm not quite sure what he is doing now.  His dark hair and full, dark beard meant that I didn't recognize him right off -- because the last time I saw him he was more blonde and clean-shaven.  We had another lovely chat...and I got from him the address of his grandmother, C's mother, so I can write her when God gives me the right words to say.

I know this isn't my usual post, but this is what has been most real for me this past week.  I beg your indulgence and your patience -- and if you are praying sorts, your prayers.

Thanks -- with love.


elle said...

Take the time, Margaret and be blessed

Kate said...

Grieving in isolation is difficult. We are meant to gather and remember. The rituals exist for a reason.