“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.” ~ Charles Dickens, from Great Expectations
Today was Jennifer’s Memorial Service. I did not attend, choosing instead to watch Olivia for Alexis.
Oddly enough, the funeral home at which the service was held broadcast the service live over the Internet. I had never heard of such a thing (a funeral?), but I watched. The sound was crappy, but I was able to make out most of what was said, and then, right as the minister was closing, he asked if anyone else had something to say, and Alexis stepped forward.
You have no idea how hard that was for her. She has always been terrified of speaking in front of crowds. When she was about seven, she gave up ballet after only a few lessons because she found out that she would have to perform in front of people. But this time she put her discomfort aside, and she spoke lovingly of her friend.
I was so proud of her. In fact, because of my daughter’s courage, I was able to leave the service (well, actually, my monitor), and to feel okay—not weepy, not bereft, not even a little depressed. I hadn’t attended the service mostly because I felt it would be inappropriate for me to be so emotional as my ties to Jennifer were second hand. If it makes any sense, I didn’t want it to feel as if I were appropriating what should have been a moment for Jennifer’s family and friends.
So when it was over, I played with Olivia. She is a balm to anything that aches within me.
More later, Peace.
Music by Alexi Murdoch, “Wait”
Even when the rain falls relatively hard,
only one leaf at a time of the little tree
you planted on the balcony last year,
then another leaf at its time, and one more,
is set trembling by the constant droplets,
but the rain, the clouds flocked over the city,
you at the piano inside, your hesitant music
mingling with the din of the downpour,
the gush of rivulets loosed from the eaves,
the iron railings and flowing gutters,
all of it fuses in me with such intensity
that I can’t help wondering why my longing
to live forever has so abated that it hardly
comes to me anymore, and never as it did,
as regret for what I might not live to live,
but rather as a layering of instants like this,
transient as the mist drawn from the rooftops,
yet emphatic as any note of the nocturne
you practice, and, the storm faltering, fading
into its own radiant passing, you practice again.
~ C. K. Williams