It is only the second day of the year and I am preparing for two funerals.
The first is on Wednesday of this week-the father of a close friend and colleague for many years. She and her father had a very close bond and we shared that bond as children of large military families do. I’ve known her girls since the youngest was seven and she is now in her third year of college. When my aching knees would not let me climb a ladder, she and her hunny hired out to paint the front of my house interior. I adored them! I visited her mom several times in the hospital and attended her funeral. Several times, when I was taking the bus to work, her dad would pass the bus stop and just say, ” come on, get in!” He would drive me to where I was parked and wait until I was in my car-just making certain I was safe. I know my friend will miss her dad dearly…I still miss mine and it has been three years.
The second funeral is not yet scheduled as my friend just entered hospice today. He is the husband of my beloved’s former wife. We had a grand friendship back when our boys were young, spending many weekends at their lovely home. Her husband would put something on to grill or she and I would make a meal of chili or spaghetti. We would play bridge for hours and laugh late into the night. We went to each other’s wedding celebrations, we shared in-laws and a son. Her sons were like my sons. She was another sister to me. Her husband was a master story teller and he made me laugh-a lot and often. He was older than us but seemed boundless with energy. He was a decade plus older than us but the distance wasn’t noticeable.
Eventually, they moved away and while the closeness was no longer as it had been, the friendship endured. Aging came to all our lives. Health problems and general slowing down struck one and all. Children, grandchildren the great grandchildren…life moves on as it will inevitably do. The last times we have seen them have been at funerals.
She and I made a pact when we were in our late twenties; if one one of us died we would go to the others house to clean before family arrived. I have only made that pact with one person. More than the ex-wife of my partner, we were like wife-in-laws…sisters of the heart. I am sorry she is losing her wonderful mate.
So, I am left now with the verse from Ecclesiastes, “to every thing there is a season and a time unto Heaven.” I will miss these good men and mourn for the emptiness they will leave in my friends lives. I am reminded of how fleeting life is, and to use the Waterford crystal champagne flutes on an ordinary Monday afternoon.
You can’t take them with you.