I stopped blogging for around ten days. I declared a hiatus. I took a break. I don’t do that lightly. And, well, it wasn’t a light thing. It was…dark. I went out of town.
This is personal, and I’m a little uncomfortable being this open—but I was at a funeral. In Chicago. The place I used to live, before I came to Florida.
We knew, my family and I, that this might happen. I’d been dealing with the knowledge in the back of my mind for more than a month. That someone I love might die.
And then she did. I could feel it too. I was uncertain of her health until it rained. Storms are not uncommon in Florida—not at all. But, while inside, I glanced and saw this massive storm. I like storms, and it was exciting to see it, but after a minute I also knew. Knew she’d passed.
I’m not superstitious–much. You can’t call me the most sentimental person either. But I’ve always found that a storm, one that soaks and hits the ground in buckets is a sign of something.
We packed, and we left the next day. So early in the morning. I was so tired. I didn’t sleep all that much for many reasons. And the plane flight was a lot too. So many things went wrong.
I used to like to travel. But almost every trip I’ve taken in the last three years has been to see lost people. And that takes a lot of the enjoyment out of the equation. Sucks the fun right out, I tell you that.
I don’t know if you’ve lost someone. Many people have. Only the infinitely lucky haven’t faced death yet. And even they will, eventually.
Here are things they probably won’t tell you about being at a funeral and dealing with a loss. I wanted to share them with you. So you would know that you’re not alone in these experiences.
You don’t know what to say when people give condolences. “Thank you”? A nod? The words are for comfort, and because it’s polite. But they don’t do much. They don’t bring people back.
It’s always harder talking to a corpse than looking at it. A body—well, it’s a body. You can remember the person, but it’s not the same. And when you say something you know, no matter how much they look like they are sleeping, that they won’t answer. That they will not talk to you.
And that’s the pain of loss. I can tell you that. Don’t talk to someone for a year—and you might not feel anything. But know, know that they will not talk to you ever, that’s the sting. A memory is not the hurting piece. It’s the idea that they are finite. That you cannot grow that memory. That you never knew the person as deeply as you wanted.
And you leave the funeral room, and they bury the casket—or burn them to an ash. And that’s it. That’s all of it.
I’m glad I got to say I love you, one last time. On the phone. I’m glad that was the last thing I said to you. I think that was the best thing to end with. I don’t think I’d change it if I could.
And well, I’m back now in my home. Living life as normal. But yet not.
Remember how I said that I wasn’t a person who believes much in superstition? Well, I still don’t. I wish I did, though.
There is one other thing. I came back on Sunday. 6/12/16. The day I come back to Florida is the same day as the Orlando shooting.
God, must the whole world grieve?
I wasn’t going to write this article. Put it out there. I didn’t want to share. But so many people now are feeling the same sting of a loss. I lost my Grandmother to a sickness. They lost all those people to a psychopath.
And in the end, we all just lost. We all have to go through it. We all have to share, at one point or another, in fighting back the darkness of mortality.
Because there is one other thing about a funeral: you will feel the sadness. There is no escaping that fact.
But it’s easier when there’s someone else standing with you.
I had my sister to lean on. And Orlando has its citizens. And we all have each other.