Tomorrow I will attend (weather permitting) just the third funeral (memorial service, technically) I've even been to. I think one funeral per decade is plenty. I know most funerals are very sad occasions, but it seems the services I've been to -- am going to -- are especially tainted with tragedy.
I was about 10 when I went to my first service. (My grandfather died when I was very young, and I've been told there was a blizzard that prevented me from attending the service. But at that young age, maybe 4 or 5, I told my cousins that kids were not allowed at funerals because the dead people were naked.) Even though I was just a kid, I did understand just how tragic a service it was. The boy was 4, he lived in our neighborhood and was run over while riding his Big Wheel. The driver was blinded by the afternoon sun and didn't see him going across the street.
I managed to make it another 22 years before I attended another service. A 19-year-old son of a friend who I used to work with -- she started as a "friend from work," but quickly became a true friend -- died. She had moved out of state, came back for the memorial service and hadn't called. I saw the obit (maybe I really should stop reading those) and went. This was planned as a celebration of his life, and my friend was strong, but I still cried for her loss.
Tomorrow, I am going to the service for a girlfriend of a co-worker. I believe she was about 40 years old. She had almost double the life experience of my friend's son, but the circumstances of her death are still tragic. 4 years, 22 years, 40 years -- lives all cut way too short.
When I read the obits in the local paper, I tell each one of them if they were too young, or if perhaps it's OK. But I know, for all those survivors named in the paper, no matter the age, it's not OK. The loss will remain.
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