I went to a funeral today, and I had a great time. My siblings had an exciting life, at least from my vantage point. I watched them from afar – always wanting to know what they were doing, who they were with, etc. To a certain extent, my siblings were a mystery to me, much like the teacher’s lounge in school. You knew the teacher’s lounge was the coolest place, but it was forbidden for students to enter, so it remained a mystery.
5yrs younger than my closest sister (I have four sisters and one brother), the gap in age was big enough that I rarely played in their reindeer games. Though the age gap hasn’t changed, growing older seems to bring the gap a bit closer together. So now, I can laugh with them as they reflect on the fun they had. I can pretend I was with them, without all the side effects.
So, the funeral was for a great man. He was well known in our neighborhood, in part, because he was a broadcast journalist. Though, I am certain, this man would have been well known in our neighborhood even if it didn’t work in front of the camera. In some regards, he reminded me of my Dad. He was tall, well built and formidable. Though, underneath his intimidating exterior, he was kind and loving. (And today I learned, he was an excellent pool player.)
This man reminded me of my Dad. He also reminded me of our other neighbor. And now, these three men, all larger than life, have died. It is the end of an era. No, we didn’t see the families often as the years passed. And, aside from one family, no one lives in the neighborhood anymore. Still, in less than five minutes of chatting, it was as if no time had passed.
The kids of these great men laughed about the days long passed. And, though I didn’t participate in many of the memories they shared, I was able to laugh with them. I finally moved up from the kid table to the adult table. And, they weren’t whispering or trying to hide things from me. It was fun. Did I mention the laughter? So much laughter.
When I die, I hope there is a fun filled memorial service that includes tons of loud laughter. If any of my siblings are still alive, the loud part is a certainty. No one in my family is quiet. I hate that we miss our memorial services. I would enjoy being surrounded by people who love me and hearing their fun and happy memories. (Hopefully, they would keep their gripes about me on the down low.)
Going back to the man we remembered today, he was a star to me. As a kid, I wanted to be a broadcast journalist. Actually, I wanted to be a broadcast meteorologist. Virgina Gunn was a local weather broadcaster, and I wanted to be Virginia Gunn. (I wanted to be Joan Embery, too. She worked at the San Diego Zoo. But, I digress…) I was star struck. Just across the street from my house lived what I believed to be a celebrity. I once watched him do a news story in front of his house. I loved it.
I also loved New Year’s Eve. My family was invited to this man’s house several times for their New Year’s Eve parties. I don’t know how many parties my parents attended, but I remember attending some as a kid. And, I remember the parents gathering in the kitchen and singing for hours. Literally hours. I loved listening to them singing. So many fantastic voices singing great oldies. In fact, during the memorial service today, I swear the lady singing the hymns behind me was someone who attended the New Year’s Eve parties of the past. Did I mention I loved their New Year’s Eve parties?
When a loved one dies, it sucks. Pardon my language, but I believe the term ‘suck’ is an appropriate term. The opportunity to gather with friends and family and recall fun times with the lost loved one makes the bitter pill easier to swallow. And, I find talking about the death of the loved helps ease the pain, too. Though I like to talk about the sadness, I have observed that some people prefer not to talk about it. Whether or not you like to talk about the death of a loved one, I hope you are able to laugh. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to laugh that a person died. Silly. That would be rude. I do hope that you are able to remember some fun times that bring you to laughter.