Friday, May 14, 2010


One of my friends has died - the dad of a friend, if you want to get picky, though I have known this man my whole life so I consider him a friend as well - and wow, there is nothing like a funeral to draw everybody together.

Well, I suppose not always together emotionally or there wouldn't be so many movies and books using a funeral as the catalyst for the plot. But physically.

Every Christmas when you hear the story of Mary and Joseph traveling for the census, I'm struck by the notion of so many people traveling to a specific place - the choreography involved, having all of them on the move, and the reunions with people who didn't leave their home towns, and the sense of Event (quite apart from having a baby.)

Funerals are like that too, except everybody affected comes to one place instead of a lot of different ones. They drop everything, or at least reschedule it. Normal life stops on practically a moment's notice so that they can come together for that moment and support each other and mark the loss... almost as though by clustering in one newly empty place it will be possible to close up the gap.

It isn't possible, of course. But it is surprisingly comforting to try.

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