my friend, you are everywhere aren’t you?  i stared up at the light in the cathedral and saw a moth fluttering about the light.  i looked down and saw the casket of the friend, the father, the brother, the son. you hovered around the room, amazed at the sentiment.  you saw your children and your spirit shone through their eyes.  i looked around and as tears streamed down our cheeks, i felt the words of the prayer coming out of my mouth without any idea of how i remembered them. i heard the words hallelujah and amen being sung through my lips.

on earth as it is in heaven

i myself do not believe in religion, but i do believe in community, and i do believe in the wonder that the afterlife may or may not be, and the need to believe that there is a place our souls go after we are gone.  i understand Why some people want religion.  we need comfort.

the life leaves the eyes and the body and you know something is different.  i watched my father’s breath go in and out, in and    out, in and                  out.  in and                                ….and then you realize.

the soul leaves, the life force is gone, and none of us know quite how it is, but we know it is.  i appreciate the idea of heaven, but refuse have the audacity to draw a clear picture of a place i’ve never been, of a place whose existence is uncertain.  we let it be what we want it to be, and hope that when our own time comes, that it will be truth.  but, none of us know, and that mystery is both beautiful and flustering. the only thing we do know is that he is gone.

today i thought about a few things as they sang amazing grace and other hymns.  i thought of the first opinion i formed of him three years ago when we met.  i thought, wow, this is exactly what my ex husband could have been. minus the addictions and crime, this is a direction he could have gone.  he coulda been a contender.  not that my friend who died was perfect. there were enough transgressions to keep him absolutely human and absolutely imperfect.  he was insecure, yet covered in a confidence and wrapped in humor.  he needed constant affirmation.  and i had very little to give myself.  so when i lost my father, and he was the first at work to rush down to my office to check on me and offer me a drink (he had the liquor cabinet going), all i could do is smile through the tears and be grateful for the authentic person and friend he was.

as we get older, death becomes more of a reality.  mortality serves as a lesson to us to remember what’s important, to give more of ourselves, to lighten our loads.  i thought of the man with the same name as my friend, who would have been my older brother, who died before i was born, who if he had lived would have been the same age as my friend.  i thought of my friend sitting next to me, who lost a brother when she was younger, also the same age.  i thought of my father, and how i hoped he would look in on him for me up there in the hereafter.  i thought of how it hurt so fucking bad when he died, and i wept for my friend’s children their big beautiful laughing eyes like their dad.  it’s hard enough as an adult, i cannot imagine it at that age.  his childhood friend spoke so much of this then looked right at them and said, “your dad was one of the good guys”.

after the service those of us who didn’t do crowds went through the motions at the reception next door, then escaped down the street to a favorite bar to take a breath and be together in this loss.  i ordered whiskey on the rocks and lifted my glass in a toast to him.  we saluted him, our friend.

to learn about the man, click here.

Oh life, it’s bigger It’s bigger than you And you are not me The lengths that I will go to The distance in your eyes Oh no, I’ve said too much I set it up

That’s me in the corner That’s me in the spotlight Losing my religion Trying to keep a view And I don’t know if I can do it Oh no, I’ve said too much I haven’t said enough

I thought that I heard you laughing I thought that I heard you sing I think I thought I saw you try

Every whisper Of every waking hour I’m choosing my confessions Trying to keep an eye on you Like a hurt, lost and blinded fool, fool Oh no, I’ve said too much I set it up

Consider this Consider this, the hint of the century Consider this, the slip That brought me to my knees, failed What if all these fantasies come Flailing aground Now I’ve said too much

I thought that I heard you laughing I thought that I heard you sing I think I thought I saw you try

But that was just a dream That was just a dream

That’s me in the corner That’s me in the spotlight Losing my religion


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