Saturday, December 16, 2017

Of Weddings and Funerals

There is a symmetry to our existence, a coming and going, a beginning and end, a greeting and a farewell. And then there is everything in between.

There are definitely phases we pass in and out of every few years, seeming each time to create a new set of clothing out of whole cloth. And I am entrenched in one now.

Today marks the fourth funeral I am attending in rapid succession after a summer of an equal number of weddings. Tis the season to be jolly, or not.

I am not big on paying attention to my attire, as anyone who has even a passing interest in my existence can attest. Thus while I have my celebrating life ensemble and my mourning death one I fear the two are remarkably alike, or maybe even one and the same.

And really, like my choice of ensemble, the line between life and death tends to blur. Those who I have recently come to bid adieu all resided on this earth since, well, let's just say before FDR was FDR. So these are really occasions where sadness is on the periphery. Memories and laughter abound, food is plentiful and the time in many ways passes more easily then trying to shout over the music of the band.

Strangely, in some bizarre universe, given the choice of competing alternatives, heading to a funeral doesn't seem so bad. In the better ones, you learn an interesting tidbit or two about the newly dearly departed. She was funnier then you ever thought. He was certainly a handsome young man and a far more generous person then you ever imagined. And, as an added bonus, if you don't like eating dinner at midnight, that is not an issue you have to fret about.

Don't get me wrong, I choose life over death every day. To know the young couple standing before me is eager to begin their journey into the unknown is exciting and wonderful. It is a time of unending hope and possibilities (which unfortunately cuts both ways).

My daughter married this year and it was without a doubt one the most joyous moments I could ever imagine. It filled my heart to overflowing. But also  this year my mom passed away at 99. Her funeral and the mourning period thereafter was, for me at least, much more pleasure than pain, more smiles than tears and more cookies, cakes, lox and bagels, good wishes and warm thoughts then I thought possible.

Life is made of diametric opposites, clear lines where things start and stop, where first breaths are taken and last ones expelled, where there is only a future or merely a past. But the reality is there can be more in common then not with the start and the stop, with happy days and sad ones, with highs and lows, with what is and what will be.

And you should rest easy knowing there are bagels and lox awaiting all along the way.


Anonymous said...

I like when you reveal what's inside your heart.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful piece!


Sacco said...


Eileen said...


HArryette said...

Oh , Robert,
This one is really special !