Living on the Edge of Hopelessness?
(Out of respect for my Aunt Barbara I will not go into detail within this post on my funeral attire however notes will be provided in the Alt Text and captions in the photos.)
Death – it comes for all of us. As we get older we are moving further away from the promises and dreams of a fulfilling life and inching ever closer to the end of our own. The thought of our mortality becomes increasingly palpable. Life is so fleeting.
It’s been a few years since I’ve lost anyone in my immediate family and as is so often the case, after considerable time has passed on the death of a loved one, it’s back to business as usual. Sure, I have days when I think of the empty space that was once occupied by someone close to me and it’s still weird.
Last Friday I attended my Aunt Barbara’s funeral. It was a beautiful service and one I’ll remember for a long time to come. The song in the video included in today’s post was sung during the service.
Funerals have always made me feel uncomfortable probably because they make me aware of my fragility or regrets of unkept promises. Especially in the case of an open casket when I look at the decedent I don’t know why, but I feel light-headed, like I’m floating, like what I’m looking at isn’t real, like the person is sleeping and will wake. Sometimes I swear I can see them breathing.
I think about all of the people who have come and gone in my life, those who have touched me yet I’ve lost touch. I think about those who are closest to me and I want to hold them closer and never let go. I think about the pettiness in life and magnifying trivial issues that, in the end do not matter. I think about what was left unsaid and the bittersweet memories. I think about facing my own fears.
Genuine Flawed Beautiful
You know how we always want to put our best foot forward by getting ourselves all gussied up? We slap on makeup, apply nails, weave in hair, put on our fancy clothes and, just before heading out the door, our masks.
Typically our daily beauty routines aren’t an issue until we come across someone who hasn’t seen our real selves and when that happens it isn’t pretty. It’s like we have to slowly, carefully, transition people into getting to know the real us. Believe me, my ex-husband knows this first-hand. He almost had a heart attack because I neglected to tell him I had a hairpiece.
Well during the dedications to my Aunt Barb a friend of hers said that all of us have two sides (one we show to the world and the other we keep behind closed doors). My aunt was one of those rare gems who was unafraid to show the world her other side.
Aunt Barbara wasn’t perfect and she didn’t try to be but she was authentic. She didn’t stand on ceremonies, she stayed true to who she was, and was unapologetic to others who may have looked on disapprovingly.
Aunt Barbara, one of 14 children, loved her children and family and they loved her. She had a work ethic that was second to none and I wish I would have gotten to know her better.
There are many layers to all of us and most times it’s only in the peeling back of those layers that we really get to know someone. What a joy, and sometimes not, when we encounter a person who puts it all out there. I don’t know about you but I prefer openness to pretense any day of the week.
Depending on where you are in your faith, life is not easy, it’s not meant to be. Heaven isn’t here on earth. But there is solace in the words of Janette McGhee Watson “We live to die another day to live another unending day with our king in eternity.”