I walked into the funeral home. I wasn’t there but fifteen or twenty minutes.
While I stood and waited to speak to my friend I was mesmerized by the people around me.
Smiling. Laughing. People.
I’ve often experienced this. Walking into a somber building. To the surprise and joy of hearing people celebrate a life. I could hear stories being told. I watched as young men were telling stories and gesturing, to include the man lying in repose. Heads nodded. Smiles were prompted and passed from person to person. Everyone was talking to someone. Someone was listening to everyone.
Each funeral home experience is different. We never know what to expect. The sorrow is always there. The sadness. The respect. But we all have different ways of showing it. Expressing it. Living it. And going through it. I’ve walked into somber rooms full of hushed tones and sniffling. And I’ve walked into exuberant sounds of celebration. Combinations of both. And variations of it all.
I stood, patiently, waiting to speak with my friend when she turned her head as she spoke with someone else and I could see her face. Her eyes. Her eyes were bright. Clear. And shining.
Soon it was my turn to speak with my friend. We hugged. I never have words of value at this time. Being present is all we can really do when there is such loss.
I don’t know how to express what I saw in her eyes as she told me how her years were spent fully and joyfully. She was filled with gratitude. Those eyes were looking at forty years of love and happiness. And that’s what I was seeing. I can’t do it justice.
Death shakes us. We can’t avoid that. But what death cannot do, is strip from us the value of a life we lived and shared with someone. It cannot undo what we have done with our time here. It is not able to steal what we have created and built. It does not have that kind of power. The value of who we are is protected and cherished and guarded.
I could see this, in her eyes.